Reservation Blues by Sherman Alexie

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Chapter 7 Summary

The Coyote Springs band members bring their instruments up to Big Mom’s cabin on top of Wellpinit Mountain. The narrator states that although there have been many stories about Big Mom, many Indians still doubt her power. For example, Victor and Junior saw Big Mom walk on water, but they erased this event from their memory. They choose to not give her special attention for her magical gifts.

As they approach Big Mom’s house, Victor is very skeptical about their visiting her. Thomas tells Victor that Big Mom has “powerful medicine,” Victor expresses his disbelief not only in Big Mom but in the whole concept of any person claiming to be a medicine man or woman. Thomas also insists that Big Mom has taught many musicians, including Elvis and Paul McCartney. So if Big Mom wants Coyote Springs to visit her, Thomas tells the other members of the band, they should not question her intentions.

Once the band arrives at Big Mom’s doorstep, they are surprised by her size. Big Mom is over six feet tall and is dressed in traditional costume. Big Mom lets the members know she is aware that an important record company in New York has made them an offer. When Victor says that Big Mom’s knowing this does not confirm that she has any magical powers, because everyone on the reservation knows it by now, Big Mom reveals secrets about Victor’s life that only Victor knows. For example, Big Mom tells Victor that he should forgive the priest who abused him when he was a boy. Big Mom says that the priest is now in an old-age home and he cries every night because of what he has done. This revelation quiets Victor, but it does not convince him that Big Mom has psychic gifts.

Later, after the members of the band have settled in Big Mom’s living room, they hear a special guitar chord that shakes them to their core. It scares Junior so much that he faints. Then they see Big Mom come out of her bedroom with a huge guitar in her hands. Big Mom repeats the same chord, telling them that she wants them to learn it. It is a...

(The entire section is 570 words.)