A Yellow Raft in Blue Water Approach Essay

fourth perspective for A Yellow Raft in Blue Water. (Your extra chapter need not appear at the end of the story, and it need not read as a conclusion, sequel, or epilogue; rather, it can go wherever you want to put it. Be creative.) 9. Write an original, imaginative story—on any topic you like—in which multiple narrators are employed to tell and re-tell a (more or less) single tale from multiple perspectives. As author Michael Dorris does so movingly and convincingly in A Yellow Raft in Blue Water, try to weave together or intertwine the events and ideas of your multiple narrators.
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An anthropologist by profession, Michael Dorris made his debut as a novelist with A Yellow Raft in Blue Water. Dorris’s wife, Louise Erdrich, is also a novelist; her The Beet Queen had been published in 1986 to critical acclaim. The two commonly worked in close collaboration; a later novel, The Crown of Columbus, was in fact signed by both. Their normal procedure, however, was to attribute authorship to whoever wrote the first draft. The other partner then functioned as an editor, offering comments and suggesting revisions. The book might go through several drafts and was not finished until both partners agreed on every word. Although the arrangement was unusual, the result was an impressive body of work.


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In Michael Dorris’ A Yellow Raft in Blue Water, he tells the story of three generations of women who struggle with their own self esteem. This affects their relationships with others they come in contact with. The women Rayona, Christine, and Ida as mothers and daughter find it difficult to understand each other and talk to each other. Rayona is a passive-aggressive teenager that keeps her thoughts to herself even though she has plenty to say. This is shown in the way thinks to herself, and acts toward others, and the way she looks.


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Compare and Contrast Christine and Ida A Yellow Raft in Blue Water shows the effectiveness of a braid, and each of the three strands of hair represents a

“A Yellow Raft in Blue Water” is an intriguing novel written by Michael Dorris, which explored the complex issues of biracial tensions, family conflict, and tragedy. This book led the readers to reflect on appropriate approaches to racial and familial tensions. While all individuals have unique experiences, perceptions, and characteristics, often multiple individuals can find unity in their differences. Michael Dorris insightfully illustrates this truth in A Yellow Raft in Blue Water. Told from the perspectives of three women from the same Native American family (Peck, pp. 129), Dorris' story communicates how age, race, childhood, and other characteristics can separate individuals from one another. However, while dealing with their individual trials, each narrator goes through the same struggles with love, shame, death, identity, and forgiveness. A Yellow Raft in Blue Water filled the readers with hope in human commonality.

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2. As a class, explore both the function and influence of memory in A Yellow Raft in Blue Water—especially memory as a key to the mysterious, lost, or forgotten aspects of the past. A famous philosopher once noted that while life must be lived forward, it can only be understood backward. Explain how that idea is or is not illustrated by this novel. 3. Before driving Ray and herself out to the reservation, Christine insists that they both visit a video-rental store. Why? What goal does Christine have in mind by making this visit? Also, what two movies does Christine eventually decide to rent? Why does she choose these two movies? As an outside project, watch both of these films, then write a short essay on what the films say to you personally, as well as what you think they would say or mean to Ray and Christine. 4. Discuss what this novel revealed to you about the cultures, beliefs, traditions, and experiences of Native Americans. What, if anything, did it show you about modern life on an Indian reservation, for example? Or what did it teach you about the recent history of Indians in the West and Pacific Northwest? 5. A few of the characters in this novel are preoccupied with certain aspects of popular culture, especially song lyrics, TV shows, and radio programs. Which characters are so preoccupied, and which songs and programs and such are most important to them? As a class, discuss why the characters in question are taken by these particular songs, shows, etc. What meanings do they attach to them—and why do they do so? 6. Secrecy is a major theme in A Yellow Raft in Blue Water. Indeed, the novel is rich in secrets. The book might even be understood as three separate yet related confessionals, a trio of overheard voices engaged mainly in sharing and revealing their secrets. But are there any secrets that remain unshared or unrevealed at novel’s end? If so, what are they? 7. Three generations are profiled in this story: a granddaughter, a mother, and a grandmother. We encounter three women existing in very different if overlapping moments in American—and Native American—history. Discuss how, if at all, the novel informed you on the changing roles, rituals, duties, rights, and possibilities of women in the 20th century. 8. As noted above, this novel has three narrators, three distinct heroines who communicate their stories via the first-person (or “I”) perspective. As an independent exercise, write an additional chapter for this novel in the first-person point of view of one of its secondary yet important characters—be it Lee, Dayton, Elgin, Clara, Pauline, Papa, or another of your choosing. Try to capture the voice, personality, and outlook of the character you have chosen when composing your