Themes

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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 225

There are a few prominent themes in Fools Crow. The most evident theme is that of colonialism in North America by white European settlers. While colonialism is not the main conflict in the story, it adds to Fools Crow's obstacles as he grows into adulthood. The expansion of the white settlers' world into his way of life also leads to another theme in the narrative: alienation.

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Early in the story, the protagonist experiences isolation and alienation, especially since he is just an adolescent with no status in the tribe. However, as his reputation grows, he becomes more integrated into and accepted in the community. Throughout Fools Crow, isolationism and community alternate. Not only is this duality experienced by the protagonist on an individual level, but it is a dilemma that his tribe faces as well.

When European American expansionism and viral epidemics place the tribe in a desperate situation, the chief has to decide whether or not to assimilate or fight for their way of life. Interestingly, Owl Child, a rebellious and psychopathic member of the tribe, and the tribe member who shows the most intense hatred toward white people, is the one who comes to resemble the white enemies in his actions.

Thus, it can be argued that there are two types of assimilation: one that is voluntary and one that is subconscious adaptation.

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