FleurIf you were to write in critical analysis, how would you approach this story?

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vangoghfan's profile pic

vangoghfan | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Below are some notes I once made for myself on the opening sentence of this story.  Perhaps they will be suggestive for you.  First, the sentence:

The morning before Easter Sunday, June Kashpaw was walking down the clogged main street of oil boomtown Williston, North Dakota, killing time before the noon bus arrived that would take her home.  She was a long-legged Chippewa woman, aged hard in every way except how she moved.

Here are my notes (please forgive the capital letters):

The morning [IRONIC IN VIEW OF THE DARK EVENTS ABOUT TO UNFOLD]  before Easter Sunday, [EVEN GREATER IRONY IN VIEW OF THE DEATH ABOUT TO OCCUR.  RELIGION NOT A POWERFULLY POSITIVE FORCE IN THIS NOVEL; NOT MANY CONSPICUOUS INSTANCES OF TRULY CHRISTIAN BEHAVIOR]  June Kashpaw [CENTRAL CHARACTER IN THE SENSE THAT SHE IS CONNECTED TO MOST OF THE OTHERS, BUT IRONIC IN THE SENSE THAT SHE IS DEAD WITHIN A FEW PAGES.  HER NAME ALREADY SEEMS UNUSUAL AND SUGGESTS A MINORITY CULTURE] was walking down the clogged main street [SUGGESTS HUMANS WITHOUT CLOSE CONNECTIONS TO ONE ANOTHER]  of oil boomtown [IMPACT ON ECONOMIC CONDITIONS ON SOCIAL LIFE; SUGGESTS A RECENT TOWN; A TOWN OF TRANSIENTS; A TOWN IN WHICH MONEY-MAKING IS A CENTRAL CONCERN; A TOWN WITHOUT MUCH HISTORY OR TRADITION] Williston, North Dakota, [SUDDENLY SEEMS RATHER SMALL AND INSIGNIFICANT; NOT AN “OIL BOOMTOWN” IS THE SENSE THAT HOUSTON, TEXAS IS] killing time [IRONIC IN VIEW OF THE VERY SHORT AMOUNT OF TIME LEFT TO HER; MUCH IRONIC FORESHADOWING IN THIS PARAGRAPH]  before the noon bus arrived [INSTANTLY IMPLIES A GREAT DEAL ABOUT HER SOCIAL CLASS; SHE HAS NO CAR OF HER OWN, APPARENTLY]  that would take her home. [IRONIC, SINCE SHE WILL NEVER REACH HOME, ALTHOUGH HOME IS AN IMPORTANT THEME IN THIS NOVEL.]

litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I think you will find these two links very helpful. http://www.enotes.com/fleur/critical-overview and http://www.enotes.com/fleur/critical-essay might help you. I would focus on the backdrop of a Native American reservation, including reflections on culture and mysticism.

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