Rayona In A Yellow Raft Of Blue Water

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A Yellow Raft on Blue Water Character Analysis Rayona, in Michael Dorris’ “A Yellow Raft of Blue Water”, is the perfect example of a fifteen-year-old girl. She is self conscious about her background (half black, half Native American), her height (too tall), her weight (too skinny), and her family (or what passes as one). In addition to her typical teenage conundrums, Rayona must endeavor to keep track of her alcoholic mother, Christine, who is constantly in the hospital for alcohol poisoning (3). Rayona gets no help from her father, Elgin. Elgin abandoned Christine when Rayona was a baby and only periodically checks in on them (5). Suffice it to say, Rayona has had a mentally draining fifteen years. She, as a teenager, needs someone to care…show more content…
She feels that she is too tall for a girl and too skinny, and believes that what she thinks about herself is what everyone else sees when they look at her: “I expect [my dad will] judge I’m too skinny.....And [there’s] a child, a too-tall girl” (Dorris 6-7). Rayona’s self-consciousness is evident in this quote. Because she feels that she is to thin and too tall, everyone else must surely think the same. In the two pages from which this quote is taken, she believes that three other people think of her as too thin or too tall…show more content…
We are stuck in a stable distance from each other, magnets connected by the stream of my words. I start my story in the middle and move in both directions. I tell her unimportant things, memories of little events that happened to me, clothes Mom wears and Dad’s funny mailman adventures. I tell her Aunt Ida’s favorite programs and I tell her about Father Tom and the yellow raft. I tell her, yes, Seattle, but the reservation too, and Mom somewhere with a man named Dayton and all her pills from Charlene. I tell her I wanted to trade places with Ellen. I tell her about my lifetime membership and I tell her about mom just walking off and leaving….I don’t hang for her to answer anymore. There’s a weight off me. I said it all out loud and the world didn’t come to an end. (Dorris 105-106)
Even when Evelyn tells Rayona explicitly that she does not have to say anything, that [Evelyn] can “forget” that Rayona has lied since she met Sky and Evelyn, Rayona tells the truth. Telling the truth would have been completely out of character for Rayona earlier in the novel. This is the first point in “A Yellow Raft on Blue Water” that the reader can clearly see a change in Rayona. Rayona told Evelyn the whole truth because she had enough confidence to believe Evelyn would not resent her for it. Evelyn and Sky gave Rayona the confidence she
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