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"Bone Girl"

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by

Holly Donithan

on 18 September 2014

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Transcript of "Bone Girl"

"Bone Girl"
Original presentation by M. Feocco and T. Knapp
Edited by Mrs. Donithan

Joseph Bruchac
Bone Girl and Indian Heritage
Tommy’s Experience
(a story within the story)
Tommy never returned to the graveyard.

Russell’s Story
Russell, the narrator of the story, tells about his own life-changing experience.

Born October 16, 1942 in Saratoga Springs, NY

Bruchac bases a majority of his writing on the surrounding land and his Abenaki ancestry.

Currently lives in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains in the town of Greenfield Center, New York. He resides in the same house where his maternal grandparents raised him.

Besides being American Indian, Bruchac is also Slovak and English. Unlike the intense references to his native heritage, Bruchac does not touch on his other ethnic backgrounds very often in his writing.
Bruchac often relates and compares living on the reservation to living in the outside world. He has a magnificent way of connecting the parallels of stories through foreshadowing and juxtaposition.
Some awards Bruchac has received for his writing are:
American Book Award for Breaking Silence, Horn Book Honor for
The Boy Who Lived with the Bears,
Scientific American Children’s Book Award for
The Story of the Milky Way
, Cherokee Nation Prose Award,
Hope S. Dean Award for Notable Achievement in Children’s Literature, and many different annual awards in 2005, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1999, 1998, 1998, 1997, 1996, 1995 for many different books and stories.
Bruchac obtained a B.A. from Cornell University, an M.A. in Literature and Creative Writing from Syracuse, and a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the Union Institute of Ohio
The story leads with the heritage of Indian graveyards
Throughout the story, Bruchac compares the Indian and the "white people" perspectives on the dead and their spirits.
While the graveyards of the Indians are considered with a lot of respect, Indians frown upon the way white people treat the spirits of the dead.
Although people tend to be scared of lost spirits, Bruchac expresses that they shouldn't be.
People of the Indian descent refer to these spirits as family.
Bruchac believes that the “white people spirits” wander and are condemned because they are left and forgotten.
The narrator tells a story about his nephew Tommy and his friends’ experience at a graveyard.
Tommy uses a white cloth tied on a stick with a lantern trying to spook people walking by the graveyard.
One night, Tommy thought his friends were trying to spook him with the cloth and lantern. They ended up not being there at all.
After begging her to show him her face and give him a kiss, she turns around to reveal a bone face.
After spotting a girl in a white dress, he approaches her and walks down the street with his arm wrapped around her, never seeing her face.
During the separation, he drank late into the night at bars and looked for young girls to pick up.
Russell separated from his wife due to his problems with drinking and womanizing younger girls.
The narrator refers to Indian ghosts as "familiar spirits." Is it possible this ghost shows up to make Russell turn from his drinking and womanizing?

Think about what Russell says after his encounter with the ghosts.

He asks his friends what to do to avoid another visit from "the Bone Girl."

He says he never had another drink since then, and he got back together with his wife.

Perhaps he was trying to prove to "the Bone Girl" that he could change his ways so she wouldn't come visit him anymore.
"The best stories we can tell…are always the stories where the jokes are on ourselves."
Full transcript