LaRose and History (Cultural (Language ("her language" suggests…
LaRose and History
"her language" suggests ownership (56)
"she said thanks in Ojibwe, miigwech, which sort of meant this is a real thank you" (101)
"Sam spoke to LaRose in Ojibwe...teaching him." (109) - language as another way to connect with the past.
Do not speak Indian,
when she had been speaking her own language. it was hard to divide off parts of herself and let them go.." (145)
"Her children learned how to read and write in English and spoke English and Ojibwe." (191)
Can mend bonds
Finding own identity
Within the family
Outside the family
'Indians have a stronger sense of community than non-Indians...Native Americans have a stronger tether and bond to community." (Treuer 49-50)
Continuation of name LaRose
Mink's daughter (Flower)
"She refuses to tell me her name." (56) - keeping things secret allows them to remain sacred
Called "the daughter of Mink" or "the girl" before her name is revealed - can only be identified by her ancestry.
"He asked her name. / She laughed, not wanting him to own her, and drew a flower." (145) - different types of language and communication. The name is a powerful thing.
"That he called her Flower made her uneasy. Girls were not named for flowers, as flowers died so quickly. Girls were named for deathless things - forms of light, forms of clouds, shapes of stars, that which appears and disappears like an island on the horizon." (146)
"the first LaRose, the Flower" (187) this description precedes her catching TB, everything she feared about being called Flower comes to a head
"LaRose, he said out loud in the stuffy waiting room." (197) - speaking the name out loud now that she's gone.
"Often, he wrote to the girl in Michigan,
My Flower, Chère LaRose.
(147) - first time Flower is called LaRose
"Her whole being was Anishinaabe. She was Illusion. She was Mirage. Ombanitemagad." (145)
Anishinaabe - Beings Made Out of Nothing (Johnson)
Ombanitemagad - there are mirages (Baraga)
"For well over a century these letters had searched after the bones of Mirage, the Flower, LaRose." (206)
"The namesake acts as an adviser, guide, and role model." (Treuer)
The bones are so important because Flower cannot be a guide if she is lost/stolen. Without the first LaRose, the subsequent LaRoses are left floundering. (STUMBLING)
Flower and Wolfred's daughter
"Only the youngest, LaRose, her mother's namesake, stayed curled near him." (197)
"Her mother had taught her how to put her spirit away for safekeeping." (201) - the spirit that lives within each LaRose?
"Her namesake daughter became the mother of Mrs Peace." (202)
"Her first name was LaRose but nobody called her that" (23)
Names change in our personal history and what we are called by others in different settings/times can change our identity and relationship with our own history.
"LaRose opened the closet" (26)
Referred to as LaRose which is confusing for narrative. Forces a reader response to relate her to the LaRose we already know.
Mrs Peace seems only to be called Larose when she's talking to her mother.
"I wrote our name everywhere, said LaRose to her mother. LaRose and LaRose and LaRose going on forever." (134)
Sharing the name. Not a unique identifier but a reminder of history.
"I wrote my name for all of us" (134)
"He could make out a name emphatically formed many times on the metal inside of the bus there. / LaRose. LaRose. LaRose." (152)
"She had certificates, brittle school reports, clippings of poems, stacks of ancient letters in there, seeking after the first LaRose." (26)
Her mother (the other one?) comes to visit her (68-72) and they can communicate because they share a bond through their name?
The first boy with the name
"stumbling" in first appearance (6)
The first to be mentioned by name (6)
The elders "gave him the name, Mirage" (52)
"Before they took LaRose to the Ravich house last fall, Landreaux and Emmaline had
spoken his name
. It was the name given to each LaRose. Mirage. Ombanitemagad. The
original name of Mink's daughter
. That name would protect him from the unknown, from what had been let loose with the accident. Sometimes energy of this nature, chaos, ill-luck, goes out in the world and begets and begets. Bad luck rarely stops with one occurrence. All Indians know that. To stop it quickly takes
, which is why LaRose was sent. (104-5)
Speaking the name out loud perhaps as a kind of prayer?
The great effort was giving up their child.
Mirage = illusion, something appearing real but not real
"LaRose" has a line to itself as the only thing Landreaux says (52)
LaRose discussed without being mentioned by name (74) - the name is where his autonomy/identity lies?
Mrs Peace's mother
"the next one" (51)
"They knew the history. Who killed the mother of the first one, Mink, and what she could do. Then her daughter, her granddaughter, the next one, and Emmaline's mom. Evil tried to catch them all. They fought demons, outwitted them, flew." (51-2)
"They had lived and died in what was now the living room and there had always been a LaRose." (87)
They build an "extension" (87) onto the house but LaRose is also a kind of extension of the LaRoses who came before him. He is connected with their spirits.
Adoption of Hollis
"Because of LaRose" (47) a succinct summary of the novel
Repetition of "it's LaRose" (76)
"If not for LaRose, he thought, if not for LaRose" (76)
"...the tattered remnants of a people with a complex history. What was in that history? What sort of knowledge? Who had they been? What were they now?" (51)
History reflected in the name - people who went to boarding schools, people who lost their families and became part of others, people who met and married non-natives.
Naming as a way to reconnect with the past but also make sense of it and make it seem less distant and impossible. Not allowing same mistakes to be made.
LaRose & Raviches
"Our son will be your son now" (16)
LaRose's name not used here - significant in its omission. Loss of history/family connection?
"He believed they became brother and sister with each other as they slept" (19)
"Nola said that LaRose should call her, Nola, mother." (34)
Repetition of Nola makes tone sound almost absurd but also reinforces idea of otherness/lack of belonging for LaRose with the Raviches.
LaRose gets caught between Maggie and Nola when they argue. He's the calm and the neutral and the glue which holds families together.
LaRose & Irons
"LaRose saw his real mother in the grocery store. He ran to Emmaline and they melted together." (35)
No question about who has a true claim to LaRose despite tradition.
True families are drawn together again.
LaRose is dominating everybody's thoughts and everything is considering in relation to him. He leaves a hole in the Iron household.
"He'd been maybe five or six, like LaRose" (48)
"She made LaRose his moccasins." (50)
"Willard said he missed LaRose." (148)
LaRose is the first boy to receive the name.
Typically women are healers.
"It's the old way" in reference to giving LaRose to the Raviches.
Tradition therefore the right thing to do. How do traditions hold us back and also keep us anchored in our identity?
"They had resisted using the name LaRose until their last child was born. It was a name both innocent and powerful, and it had belonged to the family's healers. They had decided not to use it, but it was as though LaRose had come into the world with that name." (11)
LaRose as "healer" of the familial rift through use of historical power the name gives him.
"Hollis said that because LaRose went over to the Raviches he saved them...Snow said LaRose had saved both families. He was a little healer." (148)
"LaRose, again. LaRose had saved him before." (151)
Undertones of destiny and suggestion of rebirth/reincarnation
"LaRose smoothed their hair as they competition wept" (89) - LaRose as caretaker
The thought of LaRose's distress is what keeps Nola from killing herself. (112)
"There had been a LaRose in each generation of Emmaline's family for over a hundred years." (11)
"For many tribes...there is an ancestral connection in the giving of a name...For tribes where the ancestral connection is critical, the giving of a name creates a strong and lifelong relationship between the person receiving it and an ancestor who has gone on to the spirit world." (Treuer 58)
This is not usually the case for the Ojibwe. "For them, names come from spirits, not from people." (Treuer 58)
LaRose is unusual in his naming because he carries that of a long line of LaRoses/Mirages. Why was he named this way? The spirits have named him but why? For a special purpose? Destined to reunite the families?
= "my namesake" - used interchangeably for name giver and name receiver (Treuer 59)
"A name giver puts part of himself into his young namesake and the namesake's body becomes a housing for part of the name giver's spirit. The namesake relationship is for life." (Treuer 59)
"Obtaining an Indian name is one of the most basic yet treasured customs in Indian country...Indian names are given in tribal languages with very few exceptions. Many tribal members believe these are the languages of the spirits who give the names through people." (Treuer 58)
"Indian names are spiritual identification - how spirits know people." (Treuer 59)
"The Ojibwe word for body,
literally means "my vessel." The body is a container [for the spirit]." (Treuer 59)
Oppression of Native Tribes
"Can't solve that loneliness. / It sets deep in a person. / Goes down the generations, they say. Takes four generations. / Maybe finally worked itself out with the boy. / LaRose. / Could be he's finally okay." (72)
The name carries a burden too.
Trauma of torture and attempted genocide.
Idea of a stolen generation
Loss of historical identity so attempt to reconnect through name LaRose
"People didn't want to think about the boarding schools - the era of forced assimilation was supposed to be over." (105)
"the boarding schools of the earliest days had stripped away culture from the vulnerable" (105)
Mrs Peace writes LaRose all over the boarding schools she attends. A method of reclaiming identity.
"We left our name in those schools and others, all the way back to the first school, Carlisle. For the history of LaRose is tied up in those schools. Yes, we wrote our name in places it would never be found until the building itself was torn down or burned so that all the sorrows and strivings those walls held went up in flames and the smoke drifted home." (134)
"they took away my blanket...my traditional dress and all. My little shell earrings, necklace. My doll." (69-70)
Desire to be like her mother makes her want to attend
Change in the idea of what kind of history we should be pursuing - traditional or familial?
"They hadn't started the killing early enough with this LaRose." (201)
"Stolen. Your mother was stolen." (197)
Dusty's death happens on the border
Irons and Raviches sharing LaRose
LaRose as "your boy" (68) - not referred to by name
"I tried to bring LaRose back" (75) - back suggests the past and history.
"If I brought him back, that would kill her" (76) - neither mentioned by name.
"My other Dad" (151)
"He saw that he was supposed to share LaRose all along because the boy was too good for a no-good like him." (151)
Emmaline and Nola's feud