Tracks by Louise Erdrich
1. In the opening of this chapter, Nanapush finds a freezing and frost-bitten Lulu at his door. As he cares for her and watches Fleur suffer the loss of her baby, Nanapush says, "We lose our children in different ways." He is, of course, talking about the very literal loss that Fleur has recently suffered, but this statement is a reflection of a larger loss as well. Discuss both.
2. "I asked for the grace to accept, to leave Pauline behind, to remember that my name, any name, was no more than a crumbling skin" (205), Pauline says at the end of the chapter. In this passage, Pauline has taken her vows and has become Sister Leopolda, leaving her old life, her heritage, her name behind. What is her psychological state at this time? How does all of this relate to the larger loss of Indian culture? Of what does Pauline become a symbol?
3. Lulu returns at the end of the novel. Nanapush describes her homecoming thus: "Halfway across, you could not contain yourself and sprang forward. Lulu. We gave against your rush like creaking oaks, held on, braced ourselves together in the fierce dry wind" (226). What does Nanapush mean in this passage? Do you find hope at the end of the novel? Why or why not? Does the novel end as you expected it to? What have you learned as a result of your study of this novel?
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