Sweetgrass Questions and Answers
by Jan Hudson

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What is the main theme of Sweetgrass, and what is a significant quote supporting it?

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"I'm going to marry and be happy," Pretty Girl responds, "Perhaps, but you've got to marry because it's the only thing a Blackfoot woman can do."

Janis Mary Hudson's central theme in Sweetgrass is that the traditional Blackfoot ways are breaking down in the face of new social, cultural, and economic realities. Two characters refer to the past to help them understand their lives, Sweetgrass and Grandmother. Sweetgrass depends upon the story of her mother and father's love story to give her hope for a happy love story and marriage of her own. Grandmother depends upon past stories and memories of how the Blackfoot used to be to define a hope for understanding a changing world.

Formerly value as a human being in Blackfoot culture was defined by many qualities including courage, generosity, and spirituality, but the new times have reduced human value to the one aspect of wealth. Formerly, a man and woman might marry because they were valued human beings and hope for happiness but now a woman marries because she no longer has other options for demonstrating her valuable-ness as a human being, and the hope of happiness is an accidental memory.

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