Canadian Residential School Closed In Monkey Beach By Eden Robinson

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Kivalliq Hall in Rankin Inlet closed in 1997. However, even after its closing, the next generation would still face the consequences of the horror and torture that the Canadian residential school caused. The novel Monkey Beach by Eden Robinson was written in 2000, only three years after the last Canadian residential school closed. The definition of a coming-of-age novel is “[A story that] focuses on the development of the protagonist(s) from youth to adulthood, with an emphasis on personal growth and mental cultivation” (Stanford Daily). Robinson follows this genre but adds a twist with the plot of a young Haisla woman’s life representing a minority and sheds light on the struggles of an indigenous community. The protagonist, Lisamarie Hill, …show more content…

Within the novel, as Lisa gets older, she begins to understand the struggles of her family that all connect and come back to the leading cause, which is the residential school system. Monkey Beach shows how “Historical trauma coupled with ongoing present-day traumas such as anti-Indigenous racism and a lack of clean drinking water [has] a massive negative impact on Indigenous communities, resulting in (and combining with) issues such as addiction, limited education, incarceration, violence, abuse, suicidality, homelessness and poverty. These symptoms are what many social agencies and service providers focus on addressing. But without considering root causes, one of which is intergenerational trauma, conventional solutions and treatments simply won’t work” (Seto). The residential school system aimed to assimilate indigenous peoples into Western society and strip them of their culture. The author explains the long-term issues from the residential school for the Hill family, such as Aunt Trudy and Uncle Mick’s substance abuse issues and Uncle Josh sexually abusing his …show more content…

The intergenerational trauma portrayed by Robinson introduces one of many real-world problems in the book. The author is able to incorporate in the novel the fact that “Several generations of Indigenous Peoples were denied the development of parenting skills not only through their removal from communities and families but also from the severe lack of attention paid to the issue by school officials” (The residential school system). Because Josh did not grow up around a functional and healthy family life or an adequate caregiver, he is unsure how to take care of children himself. In the novel, he sexually abuses his daughter Adelaine Jones known as ‘Karaoke.’ Lisa finds a card that Kareoke had written to Josh. It reads, “‘Dear, dear Joshua. It was yours so I killed it’” (Robinson 365). The reader can interpret that Robinson depicts this event of Josh raping Karaoke to show the residual ongoing trauma from the Canadian residential school system. The reader may wonder if this cycle will be broken and if Karaoke were to have children in the future, would they be subjected to the sexual violence passed down generations of this family. Robinson includes this information about the relationship between Josh and Adelaine further to represent the theme of intergenerational trauma in the

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