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A Yellow Raft in Blue Water :
Transcript of A Yellow Raft in Blue Water :
Ida's section is crucial to the conclusion of the story, and connects all three narratives together. It is only until Ida's section that the reader can fully understand Christine and Rayona's stories. The reader is informed of Ida's task of raising Christine as her own child, instead of Aunt Clara. This explains why she remains so distant to her "daughter" and granddaughter; she was afraid of becoming attached, only to have Christine taken away from her. She raised Christine as an emotional detached parent, but showing a clear favoritism toward Lee. Ida tried to live a life she never had through her children, and never limited them. She lived a secluded, anti-social life, but still remained strong and determined throughout all of the obstacles.
The strongest character in the novel, Ida raises Christine as her own at age 15 on the reservation and suffers the social repercussions. Ida became pregnant with her first biological child, Lee, and relied on this as the beginning of a different journey in her life. She chooses to raise her children on her own. She was emotionally detached to Christine to save herself from pain, but displayed her affection to Lee. Unfortunately, her strong-willed silence and mysterious nature creates confusion and various misunderstandings, which are then passed on to the future generations. Unlike her daughter, she is never able to change and find her real identity: "I never grew up, but I got old," (297). After being thrown into motherhood at age 15, she never had the time to figure out who she was or was supposed to be. She has the same schedule every day, tending to her house and watching TV. Ida chooses to be and stay in control, which prevents her from trying anything new, and explains her choice to raise her children alone. She lives a repeated life of solitude after sacrificing her entire future for her children.
Bitter (at times)
"If I were to live my life differently, I would start with the word No: first to him, my father; to Clara, then to Willard, before they left me; to Lee, to save his life. I was different with Christine, but it turned out no better," (297)
Ida's section begins with her acknowledging that her story is the beginning and the most important, as it is the foundation for Christine and Rayona's (present and future) stories.
Ida never had a true adolescence; she was never able to find her true identity. She chose to sacrifice herself to save her family from humiliation and social shunning, so raised Aunt Clara's illegitimate baby as her own. She was placed with the enormous responsibility of raising a child while she still was one. Her father takes to drinking heavily, and is absent from her life until his death. She focuses on raising Christine, and after a fleeting relationship with Willard Pretty Dog, becomes pregnant with her first child, Lee. Ida narrates the growth and change in her children, and their relationship. She passively follows her children, not limiting any of their actions or beliefs. Her section ends after describing Christine's ever-changing character, on the night of the alleged biblical apocalypse. The section ends with the imagery of Ida's strong arms braiding her own hair, displaying the interweaving of all three narratives and how her own story plays the role of the foundation.
Understanding Different Perspectives
New Life after Death
Finding a True Identity
Finding the Way Back Home
"I have to tell this story every day, add to it, revise, invent the parts I forget or never knew. No one but me carries it all and no one will--unless I tell Rayona, who might understand," (297)
As a man with cut hair, he did not identify the rhythm of three strands, the whispers of coming and going, of twisting and typing and blending, of catching and of letting go, of braiding," (372)