“ Fleur ” Begins by saying that Fleur Pillager was merely a miss when she drowned in Lake Turcot, which is located in Native American reserve in North Dakota. Two work forces dive in and salvage her and, non long subsequently, both disappear. Fleur falls in the lake once more when she is 20, but no 1 is willing to touch her. One adult male bends towards her when she washes onshore, and Fleur curses him, stating him that he will decease alternatively of her. He drowns shortly thenceforth in a bathing tub. Men remain off from Fleur, believing that she is unsafe and that the H2O monster Misshepeshu wants her for himself.
Because she patterns what the storyteller calls “ evil ” ways, Fleur is unpopular on the reserve, and some gather to throw her out. In the summer of 1920, she leaves on her ain agreement for the town of Argus. Detecting a spire, she walks consecutive toAA the church and asks the priest for work. He sends her to a meatman store where Fleur works with the proprietor ‘s married woman Fritzie, haling bundles of meat to a cabinet. Fleur gives the work forces a new subject of conversation, peculiarly when she begins playing cards with them.
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Pulling up a chair without being invited, she asks if she can fall in their game of cards. Fleur borrows eight cents from the storyteller Pauline and begins to win. The work forces unsuccessfully try to rattle her, and Tor discovers that she is unable to bluff, but Fleur continues to win. Fleur eventually picks up Pauline, who is concealing in the walls, and puts her to bed. The game continues dark after dark, and each clip Fleur wins precisely one dollar. The work forces are shortly “ illuminated with suspense ” and inquire Pete to fall in the game. Lily is confounded by Fleur and suspects that she may be rip offing for low bets.
In August, when Fleur has won 30 dollars, Pete and Fritzie leave for Minnesota. With Pete out of the manner, Lily raises the bets in an effort to agitate Fleur. After a long dark of traveling up and down, Fleur wins the full pot and so leaves the game. The work forces begin imbibing whisky directly from the bottle and travel outside to conceal in delay for Fleur. Lily attempts to catch her, but she douses him with a pail of pig swills and runs into the pace. Lily falls into the sow ‘s pen, and the sow attacks him. He beats its caput against a station and finally escapes to trail Fleur to the meat house with the other work forces. They catch Fleur, who cries out Pauline ‘s name, but Pauline can non convey herself to assist.
The following forenoon, the conditions begins to turn into a violent storm and the work forces take shelter in the meat cabinet. Pauline goes to the doors and sweeps down the Fe saloon to lock them indoors. The air currents pick up and direct Pauline winging through the air, and Argus is exhaustively wrecked by the storm. Because everyone is occupied with delving out from the storm, yearss pass before the townsfolk notice that three work forces are losing. Kozka ‘s Meats has been about destroyed, although Fritzie and Pete come place to happen that the dorsum suites where they live are undisturbed. They dig out the meat cabinet to detect the three work forces and Lily ‘s Canis familiaris frozen to decease.
Pauline says as a sort of drumhead, from an unspecified period of clip in the hereafter, that “ Power travels in lineages, handed out before birth, ” which implies that Fleur was responsible for the deceases of the work forces. She says that now she is about the lone 1 who visits Fleur, who lives on Lake Turcot and may hold married the H2O spirit Misshepeshu or taken up with white work forces or “ windigos ” ( evil devils ) , unless she has “ killed them all. ” Fleur has had a kid, but no 1 knows for certain who fathered it. Pauline emphasizes that old work forces speak about the narrative over and over but, in the terminal, “ merely know that they do n’t cognize anything. ”
Erdrich often refers to Fleur ‘s gender and her good expressions, get downing with her description of Fleur ‘s drowning. Fleur ‘s interactions with the waterman/spirit can be understood, in portion, as a metaphor for her sexual development ; Misshepeshu is a “ love-hungry, ” sexual animal connected to Fleur ‘s ain sexual powers. Fleur is characterized as androgynous and fishlike: “ her custodies big, chapped, muscular, Fleur ‘s shoulders were wide as beams, her hips fishlike, slippery, narrow. ” Fleur ‘s dare personality, which fascinates and infuriates the work forces at the meatman store, exudes from her gender, peculiarly during the dark when she is raped. She wears a tight, crystalline frock and gives the work forces a “ wolflike ” smile when she wins the card game ; in response the work forces try to convert themselves of their power over her by go againsting her sexually. Fleur returns to Lake Turcot where she has a kid and is visited merely by Pauline ( although, seemingly, some say she has dealingss with white work forces or Chippewa liquors ) . Though she has a kid, she is non married, and she lives independently, apart from male control. The work forces who attempt to take ownership of her, either by salvaging her or ravishing her, dice.
Racism and Sexism
The work forces at Kozka ‘s Meats resent Fleur because she is capable, strong, crush them at cards ( therefore botching their main beginning of pleasance ) , and because she is a Native American. Tor calls her a “ squaw, ” or a Native American adult female, as an abuse, and the work forces believe that they should be superior to her intellectually and physically merely because of their male gender. Erdrich ‘s narrative dramatizes white racism and male male chauvinist beliefs, particularly as these apply to Great Plains Native Americans. “ Fleur ” enacts the racism and sexism common in the twentiess that resulted in terrible maltreatment and unfairness.
One of the most of import subjects in Erdrich ‘s narrative is that of female power. The state of affairs at Kozka ‘s Meats is slightly like a conflict between the sexes, in which Fleur, Pauline, and Fritzie have their ain methods of covering with a beastly, unsafe group of work forces. Make bolding and unafraid Fleur is the most open wielder of female power, as Pauline emphasizes throughout the narrative. Fleur seems to pull this power from ancient Chippewa liquors, medical specialties, and appeals, every bit good as her gender. This may be a ground why the work forces rape her, to keep what they perceive as their rightful control over her, because they are sexist and masochistic. In the terminal, they realize they can non understand or command her.
The fact that Pauline locks the three work forces in the meat cabinet indicates that she excessively has power, the ability to stay out of sight and so take retaliation at the right minute. Unlike Fleur, Pauline Themes is mild and insecure, unable to stand up for herself or for Fleur at the important clip. However, Fleur and Pauline connect, both in Argus and after Fleur leaves Argus. They have two different sorts of female power, one direct and confrontational, the other indirect and close. Fritzie, able to command her hubby and censor him efficaciously, illustrates a 3rd sort of female power, which is that of a married woman over her hubby.