Amel Abbady deposited “‘You cannot assimilate Indian ghosts’ : a magical realist reading of Louise Erdrich’s The Night Watchman” in the group TM Literary and Cultural Theory on MLA Commons 6 months, 2 weeks ago
In The Night Watchman (2020), Louise Erdrich continues to blur the lines between history and fiction as she has done in several of her novels. Erdrich introduces the reader to several magical elements that appear to be entirely real: two ghosts, a dog that talks, and an unearthly powwow with Jesus as one of the dancers. The main objective of this article is to show how Erdrich’s adoption of a magical realist narrative mode grants her the authority to challenge “the orthodox version of history” (Holgate 2015: 635) and to “re-envision” Native American history from the perspective of “the dispossessed, the silenced, and the marginalized” (Slemon 1995: 422). In particular, this article investigates the characterization and function of one of the two ghosts that appear in the novel in the context of two significant eras in the history of Native Americans: off-reservation boarding schools and the termination policy of the 1950s.