A Yellow Raft In Blue Water Analysis

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As the title of the novel suggests, the color yellow is one of the largest and most important symbols in A Yellow Raft in Blue Water. The color’s effects can best be seen in Rayona with the yellow raft at Bearpaw Lake, but can also be seen in Christine and Ida’s stories. The color yellow clarifies many of the novel's themes, including how each individual perceives the same situation differently, how reality shatters illusions, and how characters seek feelings of internal peace and permanence. Native Americans find symbolism in many everyday objects, including colors. They believe yellow is an opposing symbol, on one hand it denotes happiness, joy, and content, but on the other it is a color of cowardice, deceit, and hurt. This clearly identifies one of the novel’s main themes of how perceptions are individualized…show more content…
The yellow raft at Bearpaw Lake is a symbol of Rayona’s fantasies, and is the center of the illusions she creates. The yellow raft provides two instances in which reality shatters illusions: her time on the raft with Father Tom and her fascination with Ellen DeMarco. When Rayona and Father Tom stop at Bearpaw Lake, the yellow raft is the one place where Rayona feels at peace with herself. The raft expands the world for her, one that has included a feeling of displacement and racism: "I pull myself over the side and lie on the sun-warmed dry boards…The silence is wide as the sky" (Dorris 59). However, the peace Rayona experiences on the yellow raft is soon destroyed by Father Tom's arrival. She recalls, “He presses, presses, presses and the air leaves my lungs. I want to sleep, to drown, to bore deep within the boards of the raft” (Dorris 60). Father Tom violated Rayona’s sense of security by advancing on, if not raping, her. The raft, that was once a place of peace, had quickly become one of

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