Date of Award

5-2009

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Departmental Honors

Department

English

First Advisor

Jan Roush

Abstract

The interconnectedness in both form and content ofNative American literature originates from the complex relationship between cultural and personal identity as inextricably intertwined with spiritual and natural realms. In Louise Erdrich's Tracks and Linda Hogan's Solar Storms and Power motherhoodliesatthecenter ofthisinterconnectedweb ofrelationships among identity, community, tradition, and landscape. Each novel centers on a protagonist who is, in some form, distanced from her primary mother/daughter relationship, consequently literally and figuratively displaced. The disrupted maternal relationship results in the child's displacement, functioning as a metaphor for the community's severance from tradition and the land. However, surrogate mother/daughter relationships develop in each novel to ground their daughters, literally grounding them to place, while also strengthening their relationship to the land and raising awareness oftheir heritage. In these novels, the development of grounding surrogate/adoptive mothers thus becomes the method by which Native American communities reclaim their land and culture. Each novel explores the dual symbolism ofmotherhood to simultaneously represent cultural disruption and renewal.

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