ERIC Number: EJ846096
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
"I Am Not a Fairy Tale": Contextualizing Sioux Spirituality and Story Traditions in Susan Power's "The Grass Dancer"
Diana, Vanessa Holford
Studies in American Indian Literatures, v21 n2 p1-24 Sum 2009
Standing Rock Sioux writer Susan Power's best-selling novel "The Grass Dancer" (1994) includes depictions of the supernatural and spiritual that do not conform to the Judeo-Christian or, in some cases, the atheist or rationalist worldviews of many readers. Power writes of ghost characters and haunted places, communication between the living and the dead and between humans and animals, vision quests, Yuwipi ceremonies, purifying sweats, and an afterlife that is specifically Dakota. What does "epistemological competence" mean for readers of Power's novel? The author argues that such competence requires a familiarity with Dakota spiritual and story traditions, yet critics disagree over whether readers of contemporary Native American fiction should need such contextual grounding or whether "narrative competence" is sufficient for readers' understanding of a text. In this essay, the author provides a critical analysis of Susan Power's "The Grass Dancer."
Descriptors: Dance, Ceremonies, American Indians, Literary Criticism, Cultural Background, Novels, American Indian Culture, Cultural Differences, World Views, Religion, Religious Factors
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A