lecture notes

Round House






Zelia 242

Convert the Indians 242

x-tipis, skin lighter than hers 242


192 what Indians? 243

Mormons and Witnesses 243

Pagans here 243

Mexican, close family 243

You’re Indian too, noble Mayan / Aztec (Mex Am) 243





review presentation assignment


ch. 9 mixed blood as survival



142 writing this story at a removal of time 178


246 Joe later public prosecutor 309







1. Evidence of minority identity, culture, or voice (or . . . immigrant or dominant / "settler" culture).


1a. How does the novel represent the Indian minority culture and the dominant / "settler" culture differently? How do the Indian characters see the dominant / "settler" culture, or how much do they see or interact with it at all? (Assimilation or resistance, or some hybrid or mixed identity?)




Spoken / oral culture

21 [Cappy tells origins of thunderbird egg] 26

33 Mooshun: Hear me . . . She gotta come out. 42

65 Old Man Niswi (oral culture) 81



dominant culture


9 Cher a surprised plastic doll . . . ratty yellow hair 11

What had Cher done to me? 11

10 windowless, metal cabinets 13

13 Dr. Egge, cf. egg 16

14 picture of pioneer woman and baby 18

Not the picture’s fault 18

20 Liked Data b/c mocked white people 25

Wesley bumbling white town-baby 25

Picard a French old man, so liked 25

24 [grotesque] abnormally short bureaucrat 30


Smell of disinfectant, white despair 146  dominant culture


126 teeth so straight 158

White, white room 159 dominant culture



161 dead voice, cheerful, dead 202

What you’ve done to my emotions 203

No standing under law for good reason 203

Diminish the white man & take his honor 203

Could be rich > show you what you are 203

Boning up on law 203

Strong should rule weak 203

Where the money is? 203

162 baby – money in the bank 204

Not really a bad person 204


166 university student > Grandma Thunder 209

Write down a teaching (oral / literate) 209

Whitey: Curtis Yeltow 209 prairie nigger word for Indians

Gun lover / freak 210

Sun Dance = devil worship 210



170 this person, features neat and regular 214

But not good-looking 214

Teeth white and even 215


1b. Syncretism is a merging of relgious beliefs and symbols—not conversion but compromise, or acculturation rather than assimilation. What examples of syncretism in religion or acculturation in Indian lifestyles, clothing, occupations?



59 Pre 1978, Indians can’t practice religion 74

Ceremonies, social dance hall, + Bibles (60) 74-5

60 Ecclesiastes, earth abideth 75

60 Father Damien + medicine people and songs 75

72 Indian tacos 91


130 rabbit-fur-trimmed moccasins + insulated socks [syncretism, acculturation] 162


Mishikenh, snapping turtles + science: 150 million years 194


Priests and nuns since reservation beginning 314

Traditional Indians, ceremonies kept alive in secret but Catholicism beaten into them 314 [syncretism]


250 boarding school 314

Saints and sacred pipe [syncretism] 314


276 Veterans, American flag, POW-MIA flag, flag of Tribal Nation 348

Traditional Eagle Staff 348

307 Meditations etc . . . Vine Deloria Jr. 387



2. Identification & analysis of literary purposes, devices, or genres.


2a. Continue: What possible distinct genres or types of story (e.g., detective, YA or coming-of-age, revenge, "dramady," others) do you recognize in the opening chapters? What do we learn about genres from the co-existence of so many genres?


137 implication: doing Mom things [ruse, distraction; detective story] 171


267-8 blunder question, quick thinking [plotting] 337


288-9 [code talk] 364





Students offer examples of comedy / humor and analyze in terms of pages on comic theory and wit and humor?  Relative to literature's purposes of education and entertainment, how does serious literary fiction benefit from including comedy & humor?


Comedy / humor

18 Right the first time they divorced 23

19 Satellite reception, dented hubcap 24

25 Proximity to Sonja’s breasts 32

31 Indian suitcase = garbage bag 39

35 Start cooking again (dark humor) 45

36 roadkill? 46

38 explosion, mosquitoes 46

Eight naked Indians, frybread 49

41 Reagan and “preserves” 52

92 unblinking, all-seeing gaze 116

Hot dog thieves (anticlimax) 116

X-proud > getting a lecture (anticlimax) 116

Juvenile sarcasm 117



[physical comic scene] 164



195 quick-acting poison 247

[incongruity, humor]


Rez Erection 242 (wit, high comedy)



For years our people have struggled to resist an unstoppable array of greedy and unstable beings. 140

Taste nearness of defeat, but  140


112 [survival . . . Bionic Commando] [humor] 140

[deflation] + anticlimax 140


253 soul > shoot gophers (humor) 318 [anticlimax, deflation]


255 Nobody worth this vision [humor, wit, irony] 320




2b. The doppelganger is a familiar archetype of gothic and detective fiction and origin stories, in which good and bad twins, siblings, or strangers fight for control of identity and destiny. What serious literary or moral purposes can the doppelganger device serve. (Round House features Linda and Linden Lark, maybe Joe and Cappy; others?)


119 doppelganger 150

Visitations of my presence 150

133 not a ghost 166 (doppelganger)


I was part of monster too 378

No matter how much it ate, couldn’t get right thing 378

Always something it needed 378

What it was: me. my powerful spirit 378




Nanapush 228

183 Nanapush? Old man prone to madness 231

Self-discipline + greed 231

Miracles < gross, disgusting behavior 231    trickster





2c. Erdrich's Round House was generally well-received but received some criticism for too many digressions, and my limited criticism is that the concluding chapter feels hurried (perhaps necessarily), with a number of possible resolutions in play. Do you agree with these criticisms or see other imperfections in an otherwise impressive novel?



146 Bugger Poirier 184

Like Vatican 2 never happened 315

Bugger Poirier 315 

252 Bugger’s mother died 317

265 Linda: cigarette to Bugger 333-4

268 Bugger riding bike 338

Bugger Poirier, what seen? 388-9

 310 petrified . . . Poor girl! 391

Construction, Mayla’s body 391

Linden to jail if followed Bugger’s dream 391





3. Identification & analysis of universal human attributes?



65 Grandma Ignatia Thunder; Church hardened; priests hardened 82

93 Should have said proud (human) 118


223 like my son > another piece a shit guy 281

Tassel > just another guy 281

Wanted to be something better 281



Decided you’re too young (tolerance of ambiguity, limits) 376




LITR 4338 American Minority Literature Detailed Objective 3b.Native American Indian alternative narrative: "Loss and Survival"
Whereas immigrants define themselves by leaving the past behind in order to get America, the Indians once had America but lost most of the land along with many of their people.

Yet they defy the myth of "the vanishing Indian," instead choosing to "survive," sometimes in faith that the dominant culture will eventually destroy itself, and the forests and buffalo will return.


American Indians as minority (causes of loss)


188 go back to Before 237

193 someone different from before—mother 244



131 Mooshun stayed alive [survival] 163


155 great influenza [Indian pandemics] 195

228 1843 entire country based on grabbing Indian land, land speculation 287

Betting on smallpox 287



179 Akikwe, Earth Woman + Mirage 226

Good at surviving 226

179 They forced us into our boundary. The reservation year 227

Broken soil like white man 227



First reservation years, starved x cows of settlers 233

Buffalo’s glory; where gone? 233

Hole in earth 233


185 white men shoot thousands 233 (destruction of economic infrastructure)

Survivors 234



1b. How does the rape of Joe's mother Geraldine duplicate in gendered terms the racial / ethnic minority experience? ("Afterword"). Is it appropriate to regard Geraldine's rape as a symbol or metaphor for American Indian experience of loss and survival?


90 all a violation 103

Clans gave laws, many rules 270

Round house my body, of your mother 270



59 Low moan, grieving sound [loss] 74

60 Ecclesiastes, earth abideth 75

73 Cappy’s aunts tanned hides 91

survived many deaths and losses, no sentiment left 91

100 [loss] white man appeared 126

Gut kick of our history 126


The sentence was to endure 400

x-childhood 400

just kept going 400



208 party on and on 262 (alcoholism)





rationalize literary devices as not just ideas about society, which can change




Child’s face, doll 168

[horror movie motif] [convention, trope]


135 doll full of money 169



mimesis and identify




archetypes: tricksters and doppelgangers



77 round house symbol of old pagan ways 97

78 heart-shaped pincushion 99












trope: http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/206679?rskey=YaTG4k&result=1&isAdvanced=false#eid







Gulf Pointe 30



Declaration of Independence

human divisions frustrating but not senseless

frustrating that humans can get along with each other in some ways but not others

or get along with some people but not others



100 [loss] white man appeared 126


94 [us-them] Angus’s hair 118


118 why she’d blamed me 149

You’re white 149

179 They forced us into our boundary. The reservation year 227


Whitey thinks he owns me (ethnic > gender) 177





27 a police TV question 34 [mimesis]


97 father’s phrasing: May I ask you a question [mimesis] 122


103 VHS player, Alien [symbol?] 130
[mimesis as realism]


23 [Mom mimesis] Food you like. Treats. 29


Listen to me, Joe [mimesis] 113





65 Grandma Ignatia Thunder; Church hardened; priests hardened 82

93 Should have said proud (human) 118