Dark Themes In Richard Van Camp's The Lesser Moon

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The Lesser Blessed is a novel by Richard Van Camp published in 1996. It follows the life of Larry Sole, a native Dogrib teenager growing up in Fort Simmer. The high-schooler has buried some dark memories from his past. He befriends the newcomer Johnny Beck in the novel, a rebel boy who he admires, and who introduces him to a life of drugs. We learn about his love for Juliet, and his difficult past through flashbacks: his abusive father, and the event that killed his cousins. The novel represents marginalized youth in Canada in a way that we rarely see in literature and film. The novel has some very dark themes, including sexual abuse, violence, and substance abuse.
The Lesser Blessed is a very bleak novel- because of the dark themes it presents,
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For example if I quote this line from The Outsiders: “Greaser, greaser, greaser, o victim of environment, underprivileged…” (Page 136), we can link it to the characters in The Lesser Blessed. The Greasers are limited because they are poor, they do not share the same privileges as the Socs, and so they do what they can with what they have. These characters are in a similar situation: their environment limits their potential. Therefore they have limited choices, often ranging between violence, sex, and drugs. We see echoes of the past here, the conflicts their families experienced are echoed in this novel, we see the consequences of residential schooling. Once again we pick-up the idea that these characters deal with conflicts drawn from things they had no control over. One thing they can control is their actions, which leads me to explore how they obtain youth empowerment. They had no choice in their up-bringing, but they do have a choice in how they decide to use their time. This is how they gain their power: through their words and their actions (e.g Johnny’s argument with Mr Harris, Johnny rearranging the
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