Native American Discussion

“Some Native American writers challenge the linear, progress-oriented structure of the Euro-American novel. They question the enlightenment ideology of the autonomy of the subject and the ways in which the traditional Western form of the novel replicates and enforces such subject construction. Louise Erdrich’s Love Medicine is a novel written from multiple perspectives and the story moves back and forth in time. There is no authorial voice which may be associated with the linear development of the novel. The train of stories defines the reality from different subject positions, spreading out from points on the spiral in ever-widening circles from which neither beginning nor ending could be defined” (Sawhney 20).

1. After reading the first few chapters of Love Medicine, readers are introduced to several characters and events that take place at varying points in time. How does this technique, as Sawnhey suggests above, challenge the typical Euro-American novel? Provide examples from the text to support your analysis.

2. Consider your current experience of reading a novel with multiple perspectives that occurs at multiple points in time. Consider other works (Euro-American or other) you’ve read. How does the structure of the novel effect the reader’s experience? Why would the author choose to set up a novel this way? What elements are gained or sacrificed by this structure?

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