Ramona

by Helen Maria Fiske

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Last Updated September 5, 2023.

Ramona, by Helen Hunt Jackson, is the story of a young girl who is half white and half Native American, and she is taken into the care of Senora Moreno, the wealthy owner of a sheep ranch, at the request of her foster mother, who passed away. Senora Moreno is a Spanish woman who gives Ramona every material comfort, but who looks down on her for being of mixed race and is never able to love her or truly accept her as her own.

Eventually, Ramona falls in love with Alessandro, a Native American man who comes to work for Senora Moreno during the sheep shearing. Ramona falls in love with him and leaves with him, against Senora Moreno’s wishes. The two marry, and Ramona returns with Alessandro to his village in Temecula. When they arrive, however, they find that the whites have invaded the village. Then, the couple struggles through a series of hardships as the Europeans settle California and attempt to displace the Native American people. Ramona and Alessandro travel from village to village, but they are continually forced from their homes. During their attempts to find refuge, they suffer the loss of a child and the mental breakdown of Alessandro. Later, after Alessandro dies, Senora Moreno’s son Felipe comes for Ramona and takes her back to his mother’s estate. They then marry and have a family.

Summary

Download PDF PDF Page Citation Cite Share Link Share

Last Updated September 5, 2023.

Ramona is largely a social piece about the mistreatment of Native Americans and the existence of prejudices within society. The main character Ramona belongs to both the Native American and white worlds, being of mixed race, with a Native American mother and an Irish father. However, her biracial heritage means her adopted family, represented by the Spanish Senora Moreno, can never fully accept her as she isn't full-white.

Ramona abandons her privileged life when she elopes with Native American farmhand Alessandro. Their relationship is troubled by outside racism. They cannot move to his village, as the whites have taken it over, and much the same happens everywhere else they go. In this way, we see that Ramona cannot settle comfortably into the Native American side of her heritage either, due to the settlement of the European and white Americans.

Ramona ends up losing everything. Her daughter with Alessandro dies from an illness since the local white doctor refuses to treat her. Alessandro goes mad from all their misfortunes and is shot when riding off with an American man's horse.

Ramona returns to the Moreno ranch to marry Senora Moreno's son Felipe, with her other daughter by Alessandro in tow. The two have many children after that.

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