A Yellow Raft On Blue Water

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Yellow Raft on Blue Water Essay In the novel A Yellow Raft in Blue Water by Michael Dorris, life on both the reservation and the city is uniform. Therefore, being different from the rest, in either looks or actions, leads to false judgments and segregation. From this isolation comes a sense of loneliness for some of the main characters. Because these characters experience loneliness, they yearn to be loved and accepted. This results in the evident theme of belonging and abandonment. Throughout this novel, the characters of Rayona, Christine, and Ida bring to life this recurring theme. Left behind by her Mom, dad, Father Tom, Aunt Ida and her peers, Rayona, the youngest of the three main women in the novel, experiences abandonment. During Rayona’s whole life, her father Elgin is barely there, pooping in and out whenever convenient for him. Feeling like she is not good enough, Rayona goes out of her way to get his attention and make him want to be with her. About this, Rayona says, “I have tried things on Dad…tears, good grades, writing letters, getting him presents…He’d smile or send me a postcard or promise to call tomorrow and then weeks would pass” (9). Ray’s mom, on the other hand, is present in her life and takes care of her daughter, but Rayona is still often alone. Leaving Rayona at home by herself, her mother goes out and parties. When Ray’s mother, Christine, sneaks out of the hospital, she plans to drive to Tacoma to kill herself and leave Rayona behind. Only because the car runs out of gas does she change her mind. Christine’s plan B is to go to Aunt Ida’s on the reservation in Montana. After being coldly “welcomed” by Ida, Christine runs away leaving Rayona with someone she has not seen for eight years. According to Rayona, “Mom is gone and Aunt Ida barely pays attention to me. I’m on my own” (45). Trying to participate in reservation life, Rayona
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