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Gerry Nanabush, if not the protagonist of Love Medicine then certainly the most dramatic character, makes a specialty of escaping from prison.The nameless hero of Winter in the Blood avoids jail and is less poor than broke, but he has little aim in life; he drifts from one bar to another, picking up women, getting beaten up.The Crown of Columbus, by Louise Erdrich and Michael Dorris, depicts the adventures of a mixed-blood professor at an Ivy League university.The change from lumpen to haut-bourgeois protagonist represents a shift in focus of the Indian novel from depicting ethnic experience of the tribal group to dealing with problems of personal identity of Indians who have lost or weakened their ties to their tribe because they live their lives primarily among whites.Furthermore, ethnic characteristics are more obvious at the lower end of the social scale.
Although certainly there are many middle-class Indians, statistically most Indians on and off the reservation are working-class. So, an author concerned with depicting the Indian experience is not likely to make his protagonist a yuppie.
Also contributing to the depiction of the characters of the early novels is the archetype of the trickster, the most important culture hero to the Indians of North America.
Trickster takes different forms in different tribes--Coyote, Raven, Hare, Old Man, Heyoka--but in all cases he plays tricks and is the victim of tricks, has prodigious appetites for food and sex and adventure, is always on the move, and is totally amoral, beyond good and evil.
The authors included in this movement include: Paula Gunn Allen; Barney Bush; Louise Erdrich; Joy Harjo; N.
Scott Momaday; Duane Niatum; Nila north Sun; Simon J.When an albino Indian named Fragua humiliates him at a tribal ceremony, Abel kills him and is sent to prison for eight years.