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Literature / Ravensong

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Ravensong is a novel by Lee Maracle. It takes place in 1954 British Columbia, Canada. More specifically, an urban Native community on the Pacific Northwest Coast, that has been hit by a flu epidemic. The story follows Stacey, a 17-year-old Native girl, struggles with the clash between white society’s values and her family’s traditional ways, knowing that her future lies somewhere in between. Celia, her younger sister, has visions from the past, while Raven warns of an impending catastrophe before there is any reconciliation between the two cultures.


Tropes in this book:

  • A Family Affair: How Stacey and her siblings were born, as her father of record was effectively infertile, given a trial period of three years:
    Grandpa Thomas told a story of twin brothers, one the father of children, the other the woman's husband. Stacey choked. She isn't going to tell me that Jim is not my father. Momma's monologue softened, became reverent, telling Stacey precisely what she did not want to hear. To prevent divorce and still have children she had spent time in the city with Ned-four times, in fact. It had hurt Jim but he had to decide between no wife and no children or a wife and his twin brother's children.
  • Domestic Abuse:
    • Polly's father beats her mother.
    • Jake, the "old snake" beats his wife.
  • Dreaming of Times Gone By: Celia dreams of the arrival of some disease that arrived in the past in the first two pages.
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  • Driven to Suicide: From Slut-Shaming against Polly, who is assumed to had sex with Herb.
  • Nosy Neighbor: The villager, Nora, was known to be nosy.
  • Outnumbered Sibling: Young Jim, Stacey's brother, outnumbered by herself, and their sister, Celia.
  • Posthumous Character: Nora, whose funeral happens in the first chapter.
  • Slut-Shaming: Is how Driven to Suicide is applied to Polly, who is assumed to had sex with Herb.


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