Summary (Masterplots II: American Fiction Series, Revised Edition)
Bearheart: The Heirship Chronicles is an unorthodox narrative. A work of mixed genres, the book incorporates materials from the indigenous and mainstream literary traditions. The novel follows the traditional framework of the emergence myth, which involves the cyclical destruction and creation of the world; an integral part of the myth is the survival and renewal of the tribe through migration. Because of its experimental techniques and language, however, Bearheart has also been associated with postmodernism.
The novel opens with a preface, entitled “Letter to the Reader,” by Saint Louis Bearheart, a bear-spirit who hovers above the cabinets of files of tribal histories in a government building. Invaded by a sense of darkness (hence the title of the first edition), he turns into the fictional author of “The Heirship Chronicles: Proude Cedarfair and the Cultural Word Wars,” a futuristic narrative about the flight of Proude and his wife from the cedar nation, his adventures with a group of followers, and the achievement of his vision quest. The “pilgrimage” represents a migration from “the third world” to the fourth, and hence alludes to American Indian myths of emergence and the end of the world. The narrative is replete with hyperbolic and incredible events and details (including cannibalism and graphic acts of sex and violence) that are simultaneously shocking and amusing.
“The Heirship Chronicles” begins...
(The entire section is 910 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of Bearheart Summary. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!