The Round House Character Analysis

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In the reading of The Round House, by Louise Erdrich, the characters are at conflict with their inability to leverage jurisdiction due to their identity as native Americans. Bazil’s null efforts to attain jurisdiction for Geraldine’s rape case illustrates how even our core moral values can be devaluated to identity. The way in which Bazil’s authority is addressed, giving him false illusionary power, shows that regardless of occupation, being a native American gives you much less power. One illustration of this illusionary power would be when Joe states, “I had imagined that my father decided great questions of the law, that he worked on treaty rights, land restoration, that he looked murderers in the eye, that he frowned while witnesses stuttered and silences clever lawyers with a slice of injury” (Erdrich 48). Bazil, being a lawyer, had given Joe a falsehood of his power’s extent; Joe had thought Bazil handled preeminent legal cases, including cases of murder and land restoration. However, we know that this is false. In the context of sovereignty, the native Americans have very little in legal cases such as those including murder and rape. Not being able to prosecute these cases in tribal courts and many times denied by federal courts, true jurisdiction was often never reached. The majority of suspects would…show more content…
Through the progression of the story, the influence of this becomes more apparent as the story progresses. The frustration caused is beautifully illustrated by Joe’s reaction regarding his dad’s efforts on the case, “You’ve got zero authority, Dad, one big zero, nothing you can do. Why do it anyway?” (Erdrich 226). It shows the helplessness Bazil faces, where regardless of his position as a lawyer, he stands without power in the case. No matter what he does, he can not get the case jurisdiction, due to their identity as native
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