Blog prompt #4 2011

In class, we talked about Beatrice Culleton Moisioner’s statement that she began writing In Search of April Raintree in order that she might better understand what had happened to her family and why.

What do you think that she hopes the reader will understand after having read this novel?  What choices does she make as a writer in order to get that message across? In your response, make sure to draw on specific passages from the text to support your argument.

 

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16 Responses to Blog prompt #4 2011

  1. Steven H says:

    In Searach of April Raintree was written by Beatrice Culleton Mosioner in order to better understand her life, her family, and what they went through. As a result, she produced a significantly meaningful novel, involving her darkest and deepest life-changing events. Consequently, these events give us a close look at how two sisters can ultimately end up in two very different places. In my opinion, this happens because both girls are effected differently by their heritage, culture, and parental problems. Additionally, these girls are forced to grow up apart from each other, forcing them to experience different events, and drastically altering their lives. One passage where this is most apparent, occurs at the end of the novel, when April finds Cheryl’s diary. In her diary, we see how Cheryl found their father, started drinking, and even became involved in prostitution. Mosionier writes, “I walk along Main Street. This is where I belong. With the other gutter-creatures. I’m my father’s daughter.” These events essentially force Cheryl to feel hopeless, desperate, and worthless. On the other hand, April is involved in a disfunctional relationship which ultimately empowers her, giving her the mental strength that Cheryl looses. In conclusion, I would argue that these life-changing events lead these sisters down different paths of life. As a result, they also end up in very different places physically and emotionally. I believe that Beatrice Culleton Mosionier wrote this story in order to figure out why this happened and probably did in the process.

  2. Elizabeth C says:

    I think she hopes the reader will remember April. Remember April, who cried, “I put my arm out to reach her, to help her, but she wouldn’t take my hand. She just kept laughing and sinking down, deeper and deeper. I begged her and begged her to take my hand, and I began crying uncontrollably (192).” Remember April who looked at the old woman questioningly; “her gaze held mine, for I saw in her eyes that deep simple wisdom… And I no longer found her touch distasteful. Without speaking a word to me, the woman imparted her message with her eyes. She had seen something in me that was special, something that was deserving of her respect. I wondered what she could possibly have found in me that could have warranted her respect. I just stood there, humbled (159).” April, who said, “In bed, I realized how much I had learned to hate. It wasn’t a natural emotion. I had known deep resentments, but if I had been given choices, I would rather have been friends with people like the DeRosiers, Mother Radcliff, and Heather (136).” I will remember April because her emotions were so real. I believe that the message of this books hinges on the author’s decision to write about April’s emotions. The book isn’t meant to be a court record of what happened to April in order that we may put the world on trial (although for April’s sake, I would like to do that). It is meant to force us to experience what April experienced, force us to realize her emotions in us. That is why it is more important for April to express her disgust over her parents rather than give an objective summary of their good and bad qualities. We are not supposed to be judging in this book. We are supposed to be experiencing. This book is a book I will remember.

  3. C.J. F. says:

    Moisioner does a remarkable job of conveying the life shaping hardships of growing up without a cohesive family unit. Having her family immediately broken and being subjected to foster care at such a young age left April grappling with the struggle to fend for herself emotionally alone. Moisioner poignantly emphasizes this sense of loneliness and abandonment in several passages. In particular, the scenes with April sitting alone outside with Rebel and exclaiming how the dog is her only true companion for the time being. The reader is given a true sense of how April’s lack of family support erased her chances of living a childhood of normalcy that so many take for granted. Through April’s closeness and value of Cheryl as her sister, Moisioner shows the reader how vital strong sibling relationships can be when all else is dismal. Even the social workers buy into Mrs DeRosier’s flagrant lies regarding their ‘bad’ behavior, leaving Cheryl and April with a constant sense of great injustice. April constantly obsesses over her supervised visits with Cheryl as their only chance to be close to one another. The situation is further complicated due to their Native heritage, which the novel conveys beginning with the social workers explanation of ‘native syndrome’. Cheryl and April struggle to get along as Cheryl embraces her culture while April is disgraced by her heritage. Moisioner truly helps to show the sort of oppression and emotional scarring that First Nations experienced by being processed through a white dominated society. April obtains the freedom and ‘wealth’ that she wants along with denial of her Native roots, while Cheryl succumbs to a destitute lifestyle of prostitution and alcoholism; reflective of the subordinate identity she has and accepts. Additionally, Moisioner’s choice of ‘Bildungsroman’ writing style helps the reader trace April’s development of identity and struggle. The reader understands the physical constriction of the Social Service system and the internal constriction that results from her ‘freedom’ that is complicated by the struggle with Cheryl over identity.

  4. Rachael says:

    I began and finished reading Beatrice Culleton’s “In Search of April Raintree” in one day. It was captivating, tender, and emotionally trying for me to read, but there was some sense of hopefulness in April’s strength of character that compelled me to continue further. What Culleton was most able to successfully convey in this story was the dichotomy and differences among First Nations individuals and their personal attitudes. I think Culleton reminds us that each human being is going to interpret their experiences in this world in various and personal ways, and its not necessarily an easy process for anyone, especially when issues of abandonment, race, and abuse come into the picture. Cheryl and April are from the same flesh and blood, and throughout the story we are privy to their heartbreaking isolation in their own experiences- their separateness despite similarities. In the end, we are shown that these two ultimately want the same things. They want acceptance. When April is finally able to accept Cheryl (and her Native heritage) she is then able to accept herself.

  5. Shelley says:

    I believe that one of the issues Beatrice Culleton Mosionier wanted the readers of In Search of April Raintree to understand is the issue of racism against the Metis and First Nation peoples. Mosionier’s use of taunts and racist remarks against April and Cheryl had a greater impact on me than what we read in either Ravensong or Fir Queen.

    Mosionier gets her message across straight to the point dialogue toward her primary characters. From the time they are little girls, April and Cheryl hear racist remarks about the Metis. When they went to the park April writes that the other children “called us names and bullied us.” (16) When April is sent to live with the DeRosier’s, one of the first thing she hears from Mrs. DeRosier is “You’ll also keep yourself and your room clean. I know you half-breeds, you love to wallow in filth.” (37) Later in the afternoon, Ricky DeRosier’s remarks to his mother, “Is that the half-breed girl we’re getting? She doesn’t look like the last squaw we had.” Mrs. Semple lectures them about the “native girl syndrome” warning them that if they didn’t smarten up they will become shoplifters, prostitutes and end up in/out of jail. She remarks, “You’ll end up like your parents, living off of society. …If you don’t smarten up you’ll end up in the same place they do. Skid Row!” (62) Time and time again, April hears these kind of racist remarks about her people. April overhears her mother-in-law, “That’s the trouble with mixed races, you never know how they’re going to turn out. And I would simply dread being a grandmother to a bunch of little half-breeds.” (115-116) When April is brutally raped she is called a “little savage who likes it rough” and a “fucking squaw.” (128, 132)
    Culleton Mosionier’s use of hard-core racist remarks are meant to shock in her readers and forces them to experience and feel the prejudice the Metis and First Nation people have encountered. Even more so the prejudice and dehumanizing of Native American and Metis women.

  6. Susan T. says:

    Even though this novel can connect back to the author, Beatrice Culler Mosionier, and how she might have wrote it to help her gain understanding of what happened to her during her life. I don’t believe that that was her soul purpose of writing the novel. I think that she wrote the novel to show what Canadian Indians and young children went through during this time. The novel shows separation, heartbreak, prejudice, decisions, suicide, etc. It touches upon many topics that they had to face. It shows what children went through after being taken away from their parents and separated into different foster homes. It showed how others treated them based on their heritage. It showed rape and suicide. It allowed us to see what life was like for these people and how hard it was for them. Therefore, I think that Beatrice Culler Mosionier wanted to show us what really happened to these people, and not what we think happened or what people told us that happened. She wanted to make us aware of the truth and how brutal it really was.

  7. Lauren K. says:

    I think Beatrice Culler Mosionier’s main point for writing her novel was to better understand her family and everything that happened to them. She wanted her readers to be able to do this as well through learning about her family. Reading this novel helped her to get a better picture of her family and everything that they had to go through. I think she wrote this too to benefit her readers in the same way. It’s easy to think one way of your family until you discover something you didn’t know about them. I think she wrote this as a way to help her readers to understand their families better too. After seeing the depth she went into in this novel to better understand her family, it helps me to see more about my family. It helps me to see that things always seem different in a family depending on the view point or the age of the person witnessing it. I really enjoyed this novel because it helped show that everything isn’t always what it seems. I think this is a good thing though because sometimes families do things that don’t make sense until later. Sometimes something seems very off until you realize the whole story. In order to get her point across I fell that Beatrice did a great job of incorporating moments during her life that really made her question her family. The first important one being when her sister and her our taken away from her parents. This really affects her view of her family because she always thought they were good parents and she didn’t understand why she was being taken away from them. As she gets older though she really starts to understand why she was taken away. Another important moment in the novel was when she starts to live on her own. She knows that she doesn’t want to identify with her Indian heritage in any way and doesn’t care about knowing her parents. I think the biggest moment in the novel in her quest to understand her family is when she reads Cheryl’s diary. She learns more about Cheryl then she ever realized. This moment in the novel helps her discover even more about her family then she ever knew. I think this is a big turning point in her quest about understanding Cheryl’s death because she gets Cheryl’s opinions and points. Cheryl’s death was tragic and horrible to April. Finally realizing more about Cheryl helps April to start moving on. Even though she will never completely forgive herself or forget Cheryl.

  8. Chelsea G. says:

    Beatrice Mosionier says that she wrote In Search of April Raintree as a way of dealing with the suicides of her sisters. The fact that she published the book, though, shows that not all her motives were personal. I believe that one of her intentions in making this story public was to show her reader two things. The first being the experiences in Cheryl’s life that lead her to suicide and the second being the way April moves on after Cheryl’s death. I believe that Mosionier wants the readers to understand why a young woman like Cheryl would decide to take her own life and also to understand it is possible for those left behind to move forward. These motivations can be clearly seen in the final chapter of the novel. In this chapter April says, “‘You didn’t have to kill yourself, Cheryl! Why? Why?’ I writhed on the bed as if I was in physical pain. I was…. ‘If only…’ Those words repeated themselves over and over in my head. But it was too late. Cheryl’s death was final” (Mosionier 220). The words “if only” suggest that Cheryl’s fate was not inevitable. This shows why Mosionier would want her readers to know Cheryl’s story. It may be too late for Cheryl, but it is not too late for women like her. The structure of the novel reveals the importance of Cheryl’s experiences, the passage from her diary comes in the final chapter, a position that will make it stand out in readers’ minds. Another important occurrence in the final chapter is the revelation that Cheryl has a son. This is important for Mosionier’s second motive because it gives April a reason to move on. Children are a symbol of the future. In the final paragraph of the novel, the narrator says, “Cheryl had died. But for Henry Lee and me, there would be a tomorrow. And it would be better” (Mosionier 234). This is what Mosionier leaves the reader with at the end of the story, hope. Mosionier wants the readers to understand what lead Cheryl to suicide and use that knowledge to make a better future.

  9. Anne H. says:

    In this novel I believe that Moisioner’s hope is that the reader understand and realize the pressures and hardships of not only Canadian Indians, but children who are taken from their parents and put into foster care and grow up without proper families. She begins with April’s naivety of believing her parents are sick and are taking medicine, which of course turns out to be alcohol. “…many people came to our house to drink the “medicine” and in the beginning, they all sounded cheerful and happy” (13). In this quote we see the innocence of a child and how all children, Indian or not, are naïve and don’t yet know the horrors of the world. Cheryl is proud and aware of her heritage, as she should be. It is not until Ms. Semple gives the speech about native girl syndrome that societies views take hold. “It starts out with the fighting, the running away, the lies. Next come the accusations that everyone in the world is against you…you get pregnant right away…alcohol…drugs…shoplifting…” (82). Upon hearing this, April is adamant about beating the odds, and becoming wealthy and in a sense, white. Cheryl decides she wants to help the victims of the “syndrome” by means of becoming a social worker. Mosioner has April getting what she wants, but being miserable once she obtains wealth, and freedom. Cheryl falls into the horrible patterns of prostitution, and alcoholism after finding their real father. I believe the author chose for this to happen to Cheryl because it shows what happens when you break someone’s spirit. Cheryl was excited and passionate about helping her people, and never really stopped, but turned to a depressing and horrifying lifestyle. She ultimately commits suicide, like the author’s sisters. Perhaps when she wrote this, with all the outside influences of the sisters she could understand why her siblings took their own lives. You can be miserable no matter what race you are, and it’s the choices you make in life that determine who you will be and what kind of life you will lead.

  10. Andrew C. says:

    Beatrice Culler Mosionier’s novel In Search of April Raintree is just that- a novel. In class we learned that Mosionier wrote the novel as a story, or rather a reflection, on what had happened to her in her childhood in order to further understand the struggles she endured. Rather than writing a memoir Mosionier could have written a novel for several reasons. What she writes may not always be true, she is able to stretch the truth, but it is still important to know that Mosionier wrote In Search of April Raintree as a novel in order to help her further understand what had happened to her own family and why. Another important aspect of Mosionier’s decision to write the piece as a novel and not a memoir, as Joe said, is the fact that because it is a novel more people can relate to it. She isn’t telling us her story of growing up and dealing with these problems in In Search of April Raintree, she is telling us about April’s struggles. Another important aspect of Mosionier’s decision on writing the book as a novel is her ability to no longer feel as though the words are her own. She places a new narrator in that is not herself. I believe the term is “framed narrative” where the reader is told a story through letters as well as first person narration. This is how In Search of April Raintree is presented to us. The narrator is not Mosionier, it is April, and April is not telling Mosionier’s story of her childhood struggles and decisions, but is telling us the story of her own as well as her sister Cheryl’s struggles. Mosioneir’s most important choice as a writer was deciding whether or not she should write In Search of April Raintree as a novel or a memoir. I think she made the right decision.

    I think one of the most important things the Mosionier wants us to understand is that the struggles that happened to April and Cheryl in the novel are present for all Native Indians. She wants us to know that these things didn’t just happen to only her but they happened to people like April as well. Indians, halfbreeds, all-in-all, people who were not white. Of course, April is a fictional character. But Mosionier created April in her own image to show us that every Indian must potentially face these struggles of discrimination and stereoptypes. Mosionier created April to show her struggle but also to allow other Native Indian people to see that it happens to more than just them. The novel is to prove that it doesn’t have to happen, or to continue to happen, and it is possible to change the course of Native Indian life. Another important aspect Mosionier wants us to realize is the importance of unity and community, or belonging. Throughout the novel April’s vocabulary changes in subtle ways. At the beginning of the novel she refers to the Native Indians and her family as my people. As her struggles become more severe she realizes that the reason these struggles are happening is because of her Indian heritage. She slowly refers to the Native Indians, to Cheryl, as your people. They are no longer hers and she no longer feels that sense of community. We see again at the end though, after Cheryl’s suicide, April’s sense of belonging yet again. “But for Henry Lee and me, there would be a tomorrow. And it would be better. I would strive for it. For my sister and her son. For my parents. For my people.” (pg. 207) Sadly this epiphany doesn’t come until late in the book, after her sister’s suicide, but Mosionier wants us to know that it is possible to be appreciative of Native Indian culture even after all the struggles that these people had to overcome.

    Mosionier wants us to understand that a tough life is not something that should stop the Native Indian people from feeling part of a community. I think she wants us to also know that she felt like this, too, and that she overcame it after her own sister’s suicide. Mosionier shows us the importance of belonging and how much it can affect an entire life. How it may have affected her own, and how, when she wrote this novel, it all became clear. The importance of family, despite how rough they may make your life, is what Mosionier wants us to see. Mosionier wrote In Search of April Raintree as a novel, but it was also the story of her childhood and her life struggles that she overcame. Death is not a reason to give up. It is a reason to begin again. “It was tragic that it had taken Cheryl’s death to bring me to accept my identity. But no, Cheryl had once said, “All life dies to give new life.” (pg. 207) Maybe this is what Mosionier learned too after her own sisters death. We can only imagine. But in the novel, April was able to begin her family again, with Chery’s son, and a new understanding of belonging to the Native Indian people. Mosionier was able to teach me one thing, and that is, that family is important.

  11. Joe A. says:

    In the opening paragraph of In Search of April Raintree, the narrator (April) explains that she is revisiting her past in order to move forward. Because this novel is known to be somewhat autobiographically linked to author Beatrice Moisioner’s own life, it is easy to confuse the first person narration as the author’s words. But this is fiction we’re talking about- the narration is always the narrator (April), not the author! I think that this is a key distinction to make if we are trying to determine what Moisioner wants us, the readers, to learn from her book.
    The most basic and perhaps the most important choice that Moisioner made in writing this book was whether to write a memoir or a novel. Either option could have served the purpose of telling her life story, but the effect on the reader is different in each case. I think Moisioner chose to write a novel because she did not only want to tell her life story, she wanted to tell a more broad story about her people. By writing a novel, the struggles that are related to the reader are more generalizable. Because we know it is fiction, we can remove the story from a specific person (Moisioner) and place it into a broader context. Through characterization, the author of a novel can create individuals that are both relatable and also representative. For example, we can relate to the character of April, but we can also see her as a representative of people like her (modern female Metis, we might call them).
    Presumably, Moisioner also chose to write a novel because fiction allows, in fact requires, fictionalization. Ok, duh. But this is important, because I think that fictionalization serves Moisioner’s purpose of telling a broad story about her people in ways that a memoir could not. Fictionalization allows her to tell the story in ways that relate the story of her people, not just her own life. For example, even though her own foster parents were not abusive, April depicts hers as such. I think Moisioner chose to have April depict her foster parents as abusive because she wanted to say something about the systematic problems resulting from the mass removal of Native children from their homes. If she had been writing a memoir, Moisioner would have been restricted to what really happened. But the novel allows her to use fictionalization to make a broader point about her culture.

  12. cwcollie says:

    Considering all the Native Books we have read thus far, I would have to say “In Search of April Raintree” is targeting the native audience more than all the other stories. There is no doubt she wants to show the general public the extreme hardships natives such as herself (especially females) endure when trying to figure out their own identity. This is a very specific situation, in terms of April and Cheryl being taken away from their parents due to alcoholism/unfit parenting. As we have learned in class, this was somewhat of a common occurrence in that time period for young children. Culleton was trying to reach out to individuals who had the same situation as her while at the same time trying to shed light to the average reader on the difficulties of this specific situation. A choice that Culleton makes that works effectively is her decision to essentially “remove” her own self from the novel. If she is indeed trying to accomplish the goals I stated before, this is clearly the best way to go about it. By rejecting to do a memoir or autobiography, she ends up making the whole experience much less singular and can more easily point out the fact that what happened to her was and still is an issue that needs to be attended to. Natives who have dealt in a similar situations such as April and Cheryl can connect much easier to the story and outside readers see that the issues in this book did not just happen to one author writing an autobiography.
    Although there is constant reference to the “native girl syndrome”, alcoholism, and other such issues April and Cheryl have to deal with, there was one passage where it seemed as if Culleton’s own voice took over the scene. Typically the reader would see a kind of distant reaction to the hardships and realities these girls faced, but on page 194 we see April’s tremendous frustrations come boiling out. “I opened the door to Cheryl’s room and the first thing I noticed was that empty whiskey bottle…But there it stood on Cheryl’s dresser, mocking me…I hate you for what you’ve done to my sister! I hate you for what you’ve done to my parents! I hate you for what you’ve done to my people!” Here it feels as if the distance (emotionally) the author was trying to keep from the characters in the novel is shattered and Culleton’s voice comes screaming out to the reader. April is never completely honest with herself until this passage. This passage is so powerful to me because it is the breaking point for her, she has had enough. April saw her parents wither away because of alcohol and now her sister and this passage is important because it shows the real and angry April.

  13. Peter C says:

    After reading this book and keeping in mind that it’s autobiographical, I too took it somewhat literal. I thought Mosioner’s foster parents were actually this cruel. After reading her short passage in the back of the book it helps the reader understand what she’s trying to get at. She says, “When In Search of April Raintree first came out, people read that it was autobiographical and thought April’s real parents and foster parents were like mine in real life. That part really disturbed me because unless I could explain what I meant by autobiographical, some would unfairly judge the people I admire and cherish”. This changed my perspective of Mosioner as a writer because I definitely made these assumptions. I first asked myself why someone would make up a fictional story on the basis of one’s own life (especially making up the part about her cruel foster parents) but after discussing the situation in class and hearing the opinion of others it helped me understand that it’s not written to make others feel sorry for the author. The book is written for the reader to make their own assumption of what happens in the novel and to look at it as a fictional story rather than a real one. In doing so, she also wants to send a message because our world does suffer from alcoholism, racism, and suicide. Mosioner wants the reader to be entertained by the characters in the novel and she does a great job of connecting the two. She writes, “Of the two sisters, Cheryl Raintree was the character whom I most wanted readers to love. I intended it that way so when she died we would be so very sorry at the loss of her potential”. This is exactly how I felt because we see her emotional decline occur so rapidly. I immediately made a connection with her innocence and excitement as a child. One of the parts where this connection is made is when she dismantles the radio to find the little man who speaks inside. She then thinks she is in trouble when the teacher speaks to the class about it so she writes to April asking what she should do. We do not see the full cause of her meltdown until the very end and this is what makes the story somewhat disturbing. I also think she intends to put some of the blame on April. I think she’s telling the reader not to forget who you are and who is important in your life. We don’t see April’s connection with her heritage until the death of Cheryl at the very end which also brings some of the sadness.

  14. Kaleigh M says:

    Beatrice Culleton Mosionier relates her personal journey through life as a Native American descendant within the novel In Search of April Raintree. The events that she touches on are some of the most personal, damaging and groundbreaking that one can imagine. Her narrative relates many themes about the prejudices she and her family members have faced as Native Americans and the profound negative effect this has on an individual’s identity and perception of self. By way of Mosioneir’s honest authorial tone and a sensitive, knowledgeable but fairly removed narrative voice, she is able to convey all of the horrors of her life without losing the reader’s confidence that the narrative is one of honesty. She also may have been able to more easily process the events of her life through writing this story as a more objective individual than had she written it as a biography or memoir.
    Understandably so, this novel must have been particularly emotionally trying for Mosionier to complete, as all of the events described are real past experiences of her own and her family. In order to more adequately display the very delicate balance between being a clearly biased narrator and an objective narrator writing about a personal experience, let us take a closer look at the actual text of In Search of April Raintree. “When Bob finally came home, I must have sparkled with excitement, because he said, ‘I thought something was wrong, the way you sounded on the phone. But you look like the cat that swallowed the mouse’” (Page 118). The manner in which Mosionier uses Bob’s own dialogue to describe the way that she appeared, sitting and waiting for his arrival home gives us a fuller picture of the scene than had she simply relayed to the reader what she was feeling. Her distance from herself gives the reader the best of both worlds: a gracious, open narrator and a complete portrait of every event.
    Mosionier’s ability to convey the intense feelings of stagnation is undoubtedly shown most clearly through the character of Cheryl. Throughout her childhood and adolescence, Cheryl becomes very interested in Native culture and heritage. She writes essays about it for school and even expands her project into personal time. She eventually works with Native peoples who need assistance in getting their lives together. When she realizes that her efforts are making hardly any change in regards to the ‘white perception’ of her people, she loses hope. Mosioneir’s tone and word choice highlight Cheryl’s feelings of disappointment in her suicide note: “April, there should be at least a little joy in living, and when there is no joy, then we become the living dead. And I can’t live this living death any longer” (Page 207). The poetic and strikingly hopeless feelings of this segment highlight the devastating effects of prejudice.

  15. Ali V. says:

    In Search of April Raintree is a griping novel that details the struggles of April and Cheryl Raintree that start when they are taken away from their parents at a young age and thrust into the world of foster homes. Beatrice Culleton Moisioner uses this book as a way of trying to understand her own life, which was very similar to the lives of April and Cheryl described in this book. Because Moisioner experienced so much pain in her own life, she felt that writing a fictional book based on this would be a good way of explaining to herself why all of the horrible things that she experienced happened. As we touched on in class, Moisioner felt that writing a fictional book based on her life instead of writing a memoir most likely made it easier to address the problems that she experienced because she was writing about them in terms of fiction and this made it less real while she was writing.

    After having read this novel, I feel that Moisioner wants the reader to understand the plight of First Nations citizens as a whole. I believe that Moisioner wants the reader to understand that First Nations citizens around Canada suffered a great deal at the hand of the white people in this country. Aside from the extirpation of Native cultures through the prevalent residential schools that we have discussed in this class, the Native cultures were also compromised when vast numbers of Native children were taken away from their families and placed into foster homes of white families. By writing about April as being placed in a less then adequate foster home, Moisioner is attempting to show the reader that not all of these foster homes were pleasant places for the Native children and that various forms of abuse presented themselves in these homes. Also, Moisioner clearly wants the reader to understand the abuse that these children even experienced in their school systems that they were placed in as a result of living in the foster homes. By writing about the abuse that April suffered with, Moisioner is not only writing of her own troubles that she experienced growing up, but also of the problems experienced by many other Native peoples such as herself. The scene that depicts Cheryl and April’s fight with the DeRosier children is a great example of one of these problems and it highlights the tension that existed between the white and Native children.

    To accomplish her goal of using this novel as a means by which to exhibit the hardships experienced by the First Nations citizens, Moisioner uses an interesting style of writing. Throughout this novel, Moisioner makes a number of intriguing choices as a writer to get her overall message across. For example, she describes April’s rape in great detail, which serves as a disturbing and difficult to read scene for the reader. By portraying this scene, as well as the other disturbing scenes present throughout the novel, Moisioner writes of very offensive topics and risks making the reader feel uncomfortable. However, it is because she addresses these controversial topics that Moisioner is able to bring about the true turmoil experienced by countless First Nations citizens over the years. It is because of these risks that Moisioner takes as a writer that her novel is able to accomplish her goal of teaching people about the plight of these First Nations peoples.

  16. Xinh Xinh says:

    In my opinion, “In Search of April Raintree” was the quickest and most captivating read that we have completed in class so far. It may have been Culleton’s writing style, but I felt that the novel flowed much more smoothly and the details were much more to the point than in the other novels that we have read. Just because it was a quick and interesting, the book does not take away from the more subliminal and hidden meanings of the book.

    As mentioned in class, “In Search of April Raintree” is more like an autobiography than a novel. It is because the events happened throughout the novel, they are somehow reminded Culleton of her own experience. Culleton had experienced the racism, separation, loss within her family. Culleton created April as a unique character who is responsible to tell her own story. However, April is luckier because she finds something at the end after all the sad things happened in comparison to Culleton, Culleton has not really found what she has been looking for. Her answers have not really answered.

    For example, after Cheryl’s death, April found a diary which contained great significant information about Cheryl, and why Cheryl committed suicide. In page 195, it was described how April found Cheryl’s old stuffs and she started to look over them and as the plot went on, it mentioned how Cheryl’s old stuffs have helped April to find who she is. Like April, Culleton wanted to find some of her sisters’ old stuffs, too. She wanted to know why her sisters committed suicide. However, Culleton could not find anything that explained the reason of her sisters’ behavior. Culleton somehow wished that she knew what was going on with her sisters. In Search of April Raintree seems to be a therapeutic inward quest of identity which Culleton based on her situation.

    Besides wanting to know why her sisters committed suicide, Culleton also wanted to know why people discriminate others and why her family was one of the victims. Discrimination hurts others. In one of the early scenes on page 16, it described how April experienced her racism and discrimination on how in the park, there was two different group of kids playing, and it did not matter how hard April tried, the girls would not let April play with them. Plus, not only other people discriminated toward April or her people, April also discriminated toward others. Throughout the novel, there are many scenes which describe April’s rude attitude toward her people. For example, when April was looking for her parents, she met with a nice lady who might know her parents. The lady lived in a poor living environment, and everything about her was unsanitary. As April was in that lady’s house, she just wanted to leave because she did not want to get sick. Her attitude toward that lady was rude and she was disrespectful. Because of that, April gave up to find her parents because she thought they were the same. She was judgmental toward her own people (90-91). In another scene, April was out with Cheryl and Nancy, and people were talking behind their backs. April did not even try to stop it, “instead of feeling angry ay these mouthy people, I just felt embarrassed to be seen with natives, Cheryl included” (98). April was being unbelievable; she had no right to against her own heritage and discriminated people. Even worst, instead of being proud of Cheryl, April felt shame to be with her. When one tries to find the answer why one person discriminates others, he/she should not discriminate his/her own-self. Because if that person does, she might not understand why she was being discriminated by others while she discriminated other people herself.

    Throughout the novel, it seems like Culleton wanted the readers to see that assumptions are dangerous and deadly. The scene when Cheryl and April had a small talk with the Child Service, it was how the lady- Mrs. Semple started telling the girls about the “native girl” syndrome and if the girls did not smarten up, they would end up like other native girls with tragic life (62). Parallel with this talk, later on, it showed how Cheryl ended up like the native girls. Her life was miserable, and she ended up by selling herself. It seemed like the society had expected Cheryl and April to have the syndrome. It does not matter how hard they try, they are led to the road. They could not escape it.

    Culleton used her own personal experience to write in this novel. Everything that Culleton wanted to say, she delivered her message by using words to express them. In search of identity, discrimination and assumptions are the major themes and messages which Culleton wanted her readers to get from this book.

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