Essay: Pauline as a Character in ‘Tracks’

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This essay discuses the character of Pauline in Tracks by Louise Erdrich. Pauline is the most powerful character of the novel Tracks and it seems to be a very real person, she is a victim of a culture and way of life over which she has no control.

Pauline is the most powerful character of the novel Tracks and it seems to be a very real person, she is a victim of a culture and way of life over which she has no control. Due to the cultural conflict, which creates her demonic and frenzied character, which reveals to all the winning of the west from a non-western cultures living within the West, and it is also the main theme of the novel “Tracks”.

Tracks is the story of a Chippewa family resided in North Dakota, striving to survive when their source of earning, lifestyle and tribal identity have been replaced with the government school, territorial and reservation boundaries, taxes on land which had been theirs for centuries, and armies of loggers penetrating more and more into the tribal lands. The game that had always been their strength is becoming dead, and they survive on rations   supplied by the government.

Pauline, the half-breed daughter of Chippewa and French Canadian ancestry, despises her Indian ness; deny her family and very much wants to be white. Yet she continues to involve herself in the lives of the extended Indian families of the Kashpaw and Pillager clans. Her primary focus is on Fleur Pillager, her daughter Lulu, and Nanapush, the patriarch and Fleur’s “uncle,” as well as with Fleur husband and mother-in-law. Pauline intrudes into their lives unwanted, but the traditional Indian way is to bear her even though they know her intentions are evil. Jealous of Fleur’s beauty, cleverness, and her skill with tribal herbs and magic, Pauline sets out to thwart Fleur who lives the traditional Chippewa life.

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