Study Guide

Windigo Tough-o-Meter

By Louise Erdrich

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(3) Tree Line

We're into the woods now. The form of this poem, at least, is straightforward enough. There are a few words here that might require a dictionary ("hackles"), and geographically specific terms ("sumac"), but for the most part, this is modern language that we are familiar with. The true challenge of the poem lies in its ambiguity. What really happens in the end? What might the river shaking in the sun represent? It's hard to know for sure. It's up to you to puzzle through the few clues Erdrich provides. Just don't forget Erdrich's introduction as you hike off into this poem.

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