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Quotes

Quote #4

And so, laughing and crying, we said good-bye to my grandmother. And when we said good-bye to one grandmother, we said good-bye to all of them.

Each funeral was a funeral for all of us.

We lived and died together.

All of us laughed when they lowered my grandmother into the ground.

And all of us laughed when they covered her with dirt.

And all of us laughed as we walked and drove and rode our way back to our lonely, lonely houses. (23.122-23.127)

On the Spokane Indian Reservation, death is not an individual, but a communal event. In a very sad way, death is a commonplace and is one of the things that brings everyone on the reservation together. Also, why are the Indian people laughing and crying? How do they cope with death as a community?

Quote #5

Way drunk, Eugene was shot and killed by one of his good friends, Bobby, who was too drunk to even remember pulling the trigger.

The police think Eugene and Bobby fought over the last drink in a bottle of wine: fig 24.2.

When Bobby was sober enough to realize what he'd done, he could only call Eugene's name over and over, as if that would somehow bring him back.

A few weeks later, in jail, Bobby hung himself with a bed sheet. (24.2-24.5)

Alcoholism again brings senseless death to the reservation, as Eugene, Arnold's father's best friend, is accidentally shot in a drunken scuffle. We continue to see a larger pattern in which poverty and alcoholism leads to destructive behavior, death, pain, and suffering. What do you make of Arnold's comic strip about the event (fig 24.2)?

Quote #6

I mean, the thing is, Medea was so distraught by the world, and felt so betrayed, that she murdered her own kids.

She thought the world was that joyless.

And, after Eugene's funeral, I agreed with her. I could have easily killed myself, killed my mother and father, killed the birds, killed the trees, and killed the oxygen in the air.

More than anything, I wanted to kill God.

I was joyless. (24.21-24.31)

Much like the tragic character Medea, Arnold is utterly joyless. Instead of killing his own children, though, Arnold longs to "kill God." Why? And why is joy so important? Can joy save Arnold? Can it save anyone?

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