The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse

by Louise Erdrich
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In the novel The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse by Louise Erdrich, What role does the trickster play in this narrative?

The role of "trickster" is played primarily by Nanapush. He is clever and adds humor to the story.

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In Native American mythology, the trickster is a popular archetype . Qualities commonly associated with this character are mischievousness and deceptiveness, and if their attitude is more lighthearted, they often add humor to the tale. They can also be considered teachers or “culture heroes,” meaning that they have special significance...

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In Native American mythology, the trickster is a popular archetype. Qualities commonly associated with this character are mischievousness and deceptiveness, and if their attitude is more lighthearted, they often add humor to the tale. They can also be considered teachers or “culture heroes,” meaning that they have special significance in Native American culture. However, their fondness for causing confusion means that they can just as easily fulfill a villainous role in these legends. Trickster characters in Native American stories often—but not always—take the form of animals, such as coyotes or ravens. They cause most of their mischief through talking to different people and introducing misunderstandings and mix-ups.

Nanapush is the character who typically plays the role of trickster in Erdrich’s stories (he is featured much more prominently in her novel Tracks, where he acts as an unreliable narrator). He is seen primarily as a teacher in this particular tale, as he shows Father Damien how to become a trickster in his own way. Readers tend to see Nanapush as adding humor to the story, even though the work is still quite dark overall. He also creates irony by teaching Father Damien, because Damien’s original purpose was to teach the Ojibwan people, not to be taught by them. Overall, the trickster archetype adds a lot to Erdrich's work.

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