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Getting on with Things: Ontology and the Material in Louise Erdrich's The Painted Drum

Getting on with Things: Ontology and the Material in Louise Erdrich's The Painted Drum Getting on with Th ings Ontology and the Material in Louise Erdrich’s The Painted Drum Janet Dean Faye Travers, the initial narrator of Louise Erdrich’s novel Th e Painted Drum (2005), has a thing for things. Her work as an estate appraiser gives her a professional interest in material objects, but her inclination is also personal: she is drawn to “the stuff of life” because she seeks in it a refuge from the pain of living. Th e novel’s fi rst section, which opens in a New Hampshire children’s cemetery, catalogs a series of losses, each a degree closer to Faye. A car accident kills Kendra, the daughter of Faye’s lover Kurt Krahe, along with Kendra’s boyfriend and a local man, John Jewett Tatro. Faye recalls the long- ago deaths of her father and young- er sister, Netta. Living people off er Faye little comfort; her relationship with Kurt is troubled, and she and Elsie, her mother and business part- ner, keep secrets from one another. A more historically- rooted loss is cultural: Faye is of Ojibwe descent but has no connection to her tribe. Overwhelmed by suff ering— her own and that of others— Faye dives into work http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Studies in American Indian Literatures University of Nebraska Press

Getting on with Things: Ontology and the Material in Louise Erdrich's The Painted Drum

Studies in American Indian Literatures , Volume 32 (1) – Sep 11, 2020

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Publisher
University of Nebraska Press
Copyright
Copyright © University of Nebraska Press
ISSN
1548-9590

Abstract

Getting on with Th ings Ontology and the Material in Louise Erdrich’s The Painted Drum Janet Dean Faye Travers, the initial narrator of Louise Erdrich’s novel Th e Painted Drum (2005), has a thing for things. Her work as an estate appraiser gives her a professional interest in material objects, but her inclination is also personal: she is drawn to “the stuff of life” because she seeks in it a refuge from the pain of living. Th e novel’s fi rst section, which opens in a New Hampshire children’s cemetery, catalogs a series of losses, each a degree closer to Faye. A car accident kills Kendra, the daughter of Faye’s lover Kurt Krahe, along with Kendra’s boyfriend and a local man, John Jewett Tatro. Faye recalls the long- ago deaths of her father and young- er sister, Netta. Living people off er Faye little comfort; her relationship with Kurt is troubled, and she and Elsie, her mother and business part- ner, keep secrets from one another. A more historically- rooted loss is cultural: Faye is of Ojibwe descent but has no connection to her tribe. Overwhelmed by suff ering— her own and that of others— Faye dives into work

Journal

Studies in American Indian LiteraturesUniversity of Nebraska Press

Published: Sep 11, 2020

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