Erdrich frequently refers to Fleur’s sexuality and her good looks, beginning with her description of Fleur’s drowning. Fleur’s interactions with the waterman/spirit. Fleur. Louise Erdrich Introduction Author Biography Plot Summary Characters Themes Style Historical Context Critical Overview Criticism Sources. Fleur. 1. Louise ErdrichBy: Trey NationAnd Lindsey Foster ; 2. Louise ErdrichBorn on June 7th, Was.
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One of the most important Native American authors writing in the United States as ofLouise Erdrich is famous for her unique storytelling technique that draws lfeur her knowledge of Chippewa or Ojibwa life and legend. Although Erdrich is a poet and nonfiction writer as well, her most prominent work involves episodes from the lives of several Chippewa families whose roots are in the Turtle Mountain Reservation in North Dakota. These richly drawn characters, whose louisf intertwine across generations, have filled five novels and many short stories.
In her individual style that alternates between a variety of first-person narrative voices, Erdrich captures the essence of these characters and their viewpoints as they tell the stories of their lives.
Erdrich draws much of her material from the stories of her Chippewa mother, and one of the first characters she developed out of these childhood tales was Fleur Pillager, the subject of Erdrich’s short story “Fleur.
After Fleur is raped by the men who work with her in a butcher’s shop, she is avenged by their mysterious deaths inside b frozen meat locker.
Although “Fleur” was adapted and included as the second chapter of Erdrich’s novel Tracksthe subject of this entry is the original short storyas published in Esquire magazine in August of As ofit was available in short story collections, including Esquire’s Big Book of Fictionedited by Adrienne Loouise.
Erdrich grew up in Wahpeton, and in she entered the first co-educational class of Dartmouth College in New Hampshireon scholarship. The year Erdrich began at Dartmouth, her future husband and collaborator Michael Dorris was appointed head of the Native American studies department.
this to say about that: “Fleur” by Louise Erdrich
Erdrich began to write short stories and poems and erdrlch a variety of minimum-wage jobs, and after graduation she taught in the North Dakota Arts Council’s Poetry in the Schools gleur. Erdrich earned a master’s degree in creative writing at Johns Hopkins University and then edited a Boston Indian Council newspaper before returning to Dartmouth as a writer-in-residence in Marrying Dorris shortly after she began to teach there, Erdrich became the mother of his three adopted children and had three more children with him.
Dorris assisted Erdrich greatly in the writing and promotion of Love Medicine ; in fact, all of their works during the years of their marriage were collaborative efforts. After the success of her first novel, Erdrich received a Guggenheim fellowship and continued to publish short stories, including “Fleur,” which originated in a long manuscript of her mother’s stories that Erdrich wrote during her student days. Erdrich continued to publish writings throughout the s, including prominent and successful novels and short stories, louisw nonfictional account of her experience as a mother, some children’s literature, and poetry.
Although she co-wrote fictional and nonfictional works with Dorris through the early s, Erdrich began to have serious family problems, including a son’s death, and she separated from her erdrihc in Two years later, Dorris killed himself, an event that likely influenced Erdrich’s novel The Antelope Wife. Two men dive in and save her and, not long afterward, both disappear. Fleur falls in the lake again when she is twenty, but no one is willing to touch her.
One man bends towards her when she washes onshore, and Fleur curses him, telling him that he will die instead of her. He drowns shortly thereafter in a bathtub.
Men stay away from Fleur, believing that she is dangerous and that the water monster Misshepeshu loise her for himself. Because she practices what the narrator calls “evil” ways, Fleur is unpopular on the reservation, and some gather to throw her out. In the summer ofshe leaves on her errrich accord for the town of Argus. Noticing a steeple, she walks straight to the church and asks the priest for work.
He sends her to a butcher shop where Fleur works with the owner’s wife Fritzie, hauling packages of meat to a locker. Fleur gives the men a new topic of conversation, particularly when she begins playing cards with them. Pulling up a chair without being invited, she asks if she can join their game of cards. Fleur borrows eight cents from the narrator Pauline and begins to win.
The men unsuccessfully try to rattle her, and Tor discovers that she is unable to bluff, but Fleur continues to win. Fleur finally picks up Pauline, who is hiding in the walls, and puts her to bed. The game continues night after night, and each time Fleur wins exactly one dollar. The men are soon “lit with suspense” and ask Pete to join the game. Lily is confounded by Fleur and suspects that she may be cheating for low stakes.
With Pete out of the way, Lily raises the stakes in an attempt to shake Fleur. After a long night of going up and down, Fleur wins the entire pot and then leaves the game.
The men begin drinking whiskey straight from the bottle and go outside to hide in wait for Fleur. Lily attempts to grab her, but she douses him with a bucket of hog slops and runs into the yard.
Lily falls into the sow’s pen, and the sow attacks him. He beats its head against a post and eventually escapes to chase Fleur to the smokehouse with the other men. They catch Fleur, who cries out Pauline’s name, but Pauline cannot bring herself to help.
The next morning, the weather begins to turn into a violent storm and the men take shelter in the meat locker. Pauline goes to the doors and slams down the iron bar to lock them inside. The winds pick up and send Pauline flying through the air, and Argus is thoroughly wrecked by the storm.
Because everyone is occupied with digging out from the storm, days pass before the townspeople notice that three men are missing. Kozka’s Meats has been nearly destroyed, although Fritzie and Pete come home to find that the back rooms where they live are undisturbed. They dig out the meat locker to discover the three men and Lily’s dog frozen to death.
Pauline says as a kind of summary, from an unspecified period of time in the future, that “Power travels in bloodlines, handed out before birth,” which implies that Fleur was responsible for the deaths of the men. She says that now she is about the only one who visits Fleur, who lives on Lake Turcot and may have married the water spirit Misshepeshu or taken up with white men or “windigos” evil demonsunless she has “killed them all.
Pauline emphasizes that old men talk about the story over and over but, in the end, “only know that they don’t know anything. One of the men who works at Kozka’s Meats, Tor is involved in the card games with Fleur and dies in the meat locker with Lily and Dutch.
Introduction & Overview of Fleur
He a “short and erfrich man married to a woman that does not appear in the story except to say that she received a blow to the head during the storm. Pauline’s stepfather, Dutch works at Kozka’s Meats and dies in the meat locker the night after he rapes Fleur with Tor and Lily. He brings Pauline’s mother from the reservation and marries her, but she dies after a year, and he forces Pauline to drop out of school in order to take her mother’s place in the butcher shop.
He smokes cigars and, when he gets angry, veins bulge in his forehead. Pete’s wife, Fritzie is “a string-thin blonde who chain-smoked and handled the razor-sharp knives with nerveless precision. Fritzie keeps close tabs on her husband, refusing to tolerate any talking behind her back. A practical business owner, she refuses to let the town break through the meat locker in order to discover whether the men are inside because it would spoil the frozen meats, her and Pete’s major investment.
The owner of the butcher shop, Pete is a soft spoken man who keeps his thoughts to himself because of his wife’s influence. The only book he reads is the New Testamentand he always carries the lens of a cow’s eye for good luck. Pete hires Fleur because of her strength and seems to bear no ill will towards her, which is why, Pauline implies, his and Fritzie’s living space is spared by the storm. Fleur curses him, saying he will take her place, so he refuses to go outside, but Fleur’s magic seems to work nevertheless because he soon drowns in a bathtub.
The “waterman, the monster” Misshepeshu is a “love-hungry” devil that lives in Lake Turcot and yearns for young girls like Fleur. Chippewa mothers warn their daughters that he may appear handsome to them, with “green eyes, copper skin, a mouth tender as a child’s,” but when they fall in his arms “he sprouts horns, fangs, claws, fins. Pauline is Dutch’s stepdaughter and the narrator of the story. She blends into the walls, or “melt[s] back to nothing” as though she is a part of the furniture, and she knows about everything that goes on at Kozka’s Meats, including Fleur’s rape.
A “skinny, big-nosed girl with staring eyes,” Pauline is captivated by Fleur but has mixed feelings about her, ranging from fear to admiration to disdain.
She is also somewhat jealous of Fleur’s good looks and powers because by contrast Pauline is quite homely, with a dress that hangs loose and a curved back like an old woman’s.
A timid and insecure girl, she cannot bring herself to come to Fleur’s aid when she is raped, and she seems to feel somewhat regretful about this. It may be a reason why she locks the men inside the meat locker during the storm, murdering them, although Pauline seems to imply that she felt compelled to do this because of Fleur’s magic.
Whether to believe Pauline about this motive is one of the cruxes of the story. Erdrich’s novel Tracks suggests much more explicitly that Pauline is not a reliable narrator. She is eager to stress that she has a minimal impact on the story, but she is the one who actually locks the men in the meat locker.
Regardless of whether Pauline murdered the men of her own volition loulse whether she is a reliable narrator, she retains a close connection with Fleur after the storm in Argus, as though she is drawn to her and repelled by her at the same time.
The intriguing subject of Erdrich’s story, the daring Fleur Pillager is a Chippewa woman with magical powers. Chippewa men are attracted to her good looks, but they fear her because she has power from spirits and natural forces. She has “wide and flat” cheeks and a strong, muscular upper body, but her hips are “fishlike, slippery, narrow” and she has “sly brown eyes. Fleur’s reasons for moving to Argus are unclear; she may simply want a change from her home on Lake Turcot, or she may fear that people on the reservation will try to get rid of her.
In any case, she works erdriich and with great strength, and she is able to cheat the men at cards possibly using some kind of supernatural powers. The men, particularly Lily, are infuriated by her confidence and boldness, perhaps more than by the possibility that she cheats at cards. The women seem to respect Fleur, and Fleur takes to Pauline and appears efdrich protect her. Pauline, however, has complex feelings about Fleur that must be deciphered in the subtext of what Pauline says.
Pauline claims that Fleur is “haywire, gy of control,” and that she “messed with evil, laughed at the old women’s advice, and dressed like a man. Pauline also suggests that Fleur magically compelled her to lock the men in the meat locker. It is not clear that all of these things are true or that Fleur is single-handedly responsible for all that happens.
In flehr sense, Fleur erdricg a victim who is raped by three brutal men. In any case, as she is presented by the narrator, Fleur possesses magical power related to her femininity, which no one fully understands.
Lily is a fat man “with snake’s cold pale eyes and precious skin, smooth and lily-white, which is how he got his name. The main actor in the rape and the events leading up to it, Lily attempts to bait Fleur by raising the stakes in the card game. During the chase, Lily falls into the sow’s pen and has a dirty and vicious fight with it in which he crawls around in the mud and is bitten louuise the shoulder.
Erdrich implies during this description that Lily is a pig himself. One of the most important themes in Erdrich’s story is that of female power. The situation at Kozka’s Meats is somewhat like a battle between the sexes, in which Fleur, Pauline, and Fritzie have their own methods of dealing with a brutish, dangerous group of men. Daring and fearless Fleur is the most overt wielder of female power, as Pauline emphasizes throughout the story.
Fleur seems to draw this power from ancient Chippewa spirits, medicines, and charms, as well as her sexuality. This may be a reason why the men rape her, to maintain what they perceive as their rightful control over her, because they are sexist and masochistic. In the end, they realize they cannot understand or control her. The fact that Pauline locks the three men in the meat locker indicates that she too has power, the ability to remain out of sight and then take revenge at the right moment.