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).
After Rayona and Christine arrive to Ida’s house, Christine leaves Rayona in Ida’s care. Rayona ends up living with and describes how Ida would feel about her departure, “Aunt Ida is a mystery to me. She seems to take everything as it comes, but it’s all a burden. I tell myself she won’t miss me, she won’t care that I left the way I did.” (85). Rayona feels that Ida does not care about her well-being and prefers to not have the responsibility of watching over her.
Yellow Raft In Blue Water Back long ago before we had books or even computers we socialized with each other, We sat around the dinner table or a fire and told stories from start to finish. We didn't just speak to tell the stories, we also used visuals such as pictures. The pictures were used to engage the audience into the storie. During the book Yellow Raft In Blue Water the author Michael Dorris covers many different topics, he goes over the struggle with racism, the power struggle, the struggle with appearances, and the struggle of an inescapable reality. The author Michael Dorris, who is Native American, writes this book so it focuses around the lives of three Native American women.
The yellow raft at Bearpaw Lake is a symbol of Rayona’s fantasies, and is the center of the illusions she creates. The yellow raft provides two instances in which reality shatters illusions: her time on the raft with Father Tom and her fascination with Ellen DeMarco. When Rayona and Father Tom stop at Bearpaw Lake, the yellow raft is the one place where Rayona feels at peace with herself. The raft expands the world for her, one that has included a feeling of displacement and racism: "I pull myself over the side and lie on the sun-warmed dry boards…The silence is wide as the sky" (Dorris 59). However, the peace Rayona experiences on the yellow raft is soon destroyed by Father Tom's arrival.
In the beginning of the story, Tan describes the mother as a stereotypical Chinese mother, who can be labeled as very strict. The mother was very determined, to make her child, Jing-Mei a success, “instantly famous...or a child prodigy.” Jing-Mei was forced to take piano lessons by a former piano teacher, who was deaf. Chinese children can be stereotyped as studious and obedient. Many Chinese families may fit into these stereotypes, but not every single one of them does and Tan exposes that in her story. Jing-Mei didn’t fit in the stereotype she, “ was so determined not to try, not to be anybody different, [she] learned to play only the most ear-splitting preludes, the most discordant hymns,” on the piano.
She is very excited about this, but then is told by her parents she cannot audition because she would not pass the background check. In the Chinese Cultural Revolution Mao wanted to get rid of the “four olds” of China. Suddenly everything is very different in Ji-Li and her family’s life. As the book goes on, they are shutting down stores, they arrest her own father, and Jiang’s family worries about other people being arrested as well. Ji-Li Jiang’s main argument while writing this book is that is it always important to stick together.
As a whole, while the story was very depressing at times, it still has an underlying tone of family ideals, as the relationship between the mother and daughter still remained despite the arguments they had. In my opinion, I think the author’s message that she wished to convey was that despite any event that may occur, family members will always be there support you. This is shown in how, despite Jing Mei’s failures at becoming a prodigy, her mother still supported her and did not give up hope on helping her daughter becoming a successful person. As such, it strengthens the idea that “family will always be there for you”, no matter what hardships come their way. In addition, it helped to add a sense of togetherness in the short story, as it inadvertently revealed how much Jing’s mother actually loved her, despite her tough exterior.
Dorris’s decision to have braids be a symbol in A Yellow Raft in Blue Water was masterfully done, as the subtly to it displayed just how vital each women’s story was to the others. Without the braid symbol, the strength of how the stories overlapped would have been lost. Although not effective instantly, the symbol did have a powerful effect by the novel’s
Ying Ying never learned to speak her mind or to control the path of her own life. As she watches Lena make the same mistake of passivity, she internally struggles to tell Lena what she sees. “I want to tell her this: We are lost, she and I, unseen and not seeing, unheard and not hearing, unknown by others.” (Tan 67) Ying Ying lived through a terrible marriage that left her voiceless. She lamented the loss of her unfaithful husband and despite her knowledge of her blamelessness. Her experiences taught her a valuable lesson to respect oneself and to fight for one's beliefs, a lesson she must pass on to her daughter.
Two Kinds by Amy Tan is the story everyone can relate to about being really close to your parents and wanting to do everything with them when your young and then growing up and not wanting to be around your parents at all. As a child Jing mei started off her life with her mother in America. As Jing mei was growing up, everyday her and her mother would try to find out what Jing bei was a prodigy at. Little did they know that all this time they were spending together trying to find this hidden talent would soon be the demise of their relationship. When Jing mei was growing up her mother thought that anyone could be anything in america.