Analysis Of Generational Trauma In 'Still There' By Tommy Orange

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In the novel There There (2018), the author Tommy Orange explores the interconnectedness of the characters and how their actions, no matter how small, can have profound effects on the lives of others. Ultimately revealing the devastating impacts of generational trauma and attempts of genocide against/on Native American communities. Orange uses the complex connections between the characters to illustrate the devastating effects of generational trauma on Native American communities, specifically through the characters’ struggles with substance abuse, violence, suicide, and poverty. There There, follows twelve characters, each with their own unique story and struggles. They are all connected somehow, whether through blood ties, shared experiences, …show more content…

For example, Jacquie Red Feather, one of the main characters in the book, faces and experiences a lot of generational trauma, with all the trauma she endured throughout her life, from being moved around everywhere by her mom, staying at shelters, getting raped at a young age, becoming pregnant after being raped, putting the baby up for adoption, having another baby on top of that, and ultimately her daughter committing suicide and leaving her three grandsons behind with her half-sister, Opal. With all Jauqie went through and endured, she would cope with it through drinking, though she is a substance abuse counselor and newly sober she still has trouble with her urges to drink. In one part of the book Jacquie is contemplating drinking while she does so she remembers something her mom would say, “the spider’s web is a home and a trap. …show more content…

For example, Orange introduces another main character, Daniel Gonzales, who 3-D prints six guns to sell them to make money for his very depressed mother who hasn’t gone back to work since Daniel’s brother, Manny, was killed in a drug-related altercation. Before Manny passed away he was the main source of income for the family through dealing drugs.This represents how bad poverty is amongst Native Americans, which results in drug dealing and drug abuse as well. After Manny died there was no source of income for the house, and Daniel and his mother got a notice for rent, realizing how serious the situation was Daniel realized he needed to get some source of income to support his mother and himself; resulting in the printing of the guns. Though Daniel knew they weren’t going to be used for anything and even expressed how he was worried about “what the guns will do. Where they’ll end up. Who they might hurt or kill(p.193)”, although Daniel shared his worries about the guns with his dead brother in an email, Daniel still sold the six guns for $5,000 to his cousin Octavio. Without realizing the behavior Daniel is enabling, he’s continuing the cycle of violence without even realizing it because he’s just trying to make money out of it for his mom and himself, without thinking about what consequences those guns will bring in the

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