Themes

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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 296

The Round House covers many themes, one of which is the vulnerability of Native American women in reservations. Three female characters in the novel either suffered violence, in this case, rape, or were abandoned by their families because of birth defects. While not overtly feminist literature, the novel highlights the plight of women in rural America, whether they are Native American or white.

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There is also a theme of predator versus prey. Linden, the man who raped Geraldine, is a violent psychopath and happens to be the twin brother of Linda, the white woman abandoned by her family as a newborn baby. He not only raped Geraldine, but another Native American woman named Mayla Wolfskin.

Likewise, Joe's uncle's wife, Sonja, is greedy sociopath who runs off with Mayla's money, which Joe had found stuffed inside a doll. Although she is one of the antagonists in the novel, Sonja herself personifies the plight of women in the reservation (i.e. when Sonja accuses of Joe only wanting her body like all the other men in her life).

Another theme in the novel is the racial tension between whites and indigenous people in North Dakota. The man who raped Geraldine is a racist and his racist views allow him to justify the objectification of indigenous women.

Lastly, the theme of justice is featured in the novel. When Linden is freed from jail, the tribe decides to apply justice by using violence against him. When that doesn't work, Joe takes it upon himself to avenge Geraldine's honor by murdering him. In the end, it is Joe's best friend who kills Linden. However, his friend dies in a car accident at the conclusion of the novel, which shows that those who committed violence in the story all ended up dead.

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