How could Green Grass, Running Water by Thomas King be seen as the representation of a mashup of Canadian culture?

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

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It is vital to understand the way that this hilarious and satirical book draws upon a variety of different traditions and backgrounds that makes up Canada today. This of course is most clearly seen through the stories that the four old Indians who have escaped tell to each other and the way that they always include a Biblical element and a Native American element, before the Indian character interacts with a famous stereotypical character from white literature or film. This of course helps reinforce the central conflict between Native American thought and white American ideology and challenges and subverts white ideas of dominance and superiority. Consider the incident when Changing Woman lands on Noah's Ark and finds that it is full of animal droppings. In addition, Noah, the supposedly virtuous human, has a rampant sexual drive that sees him pursuing Changing Woman around the boat. Note what Noah says to Changing Woman after she falls on the boat:

Lemme see your breasts, said Noah. I like women with big breasts. I hope God remembered that.

Through these stories, that occur throughout the novel and involve other famous events from Indian culture, Christian culture and white literature and films, King demonstrates the way that Canada today is actually a mashup of all of these different elements in terms of its identity. King himself wrote that this novel was in part a reflection on his own upbringing, which involved a huge range of different traditions. It is only natural therefore that this novel reflects the huge diversity of what it means to be Canadian through drawing on these different elements.

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