, Research Paper
A Yellow Raft in Blue Water
How would you feel if people judged you by the way you look or the way you perceive yourself? How would you feel if the reaction you got from others were racial comments? What if those racial comments or dirty looks were given by a family member? If any of these questions relate to you or you ve actually been in that position, then I recommend that you read a novel called, A Yellow Raft in Blue Water by Michael Dorris. This novel is about a girl named Rayona who faces the hardships in life for being half-Native American and half-African American. She was partly raised in an Indian reservation and other cities as well. Being in Rayona s position brings down her self confidence. Read the rest of the essay, and you ll understand why.
Some of Rayona s family members put her in that type of position where the comments and dirty looks hurt her and break down her self confidence. For example, His eyes measure and weigh, take me apart and put me back together. I wait for him to compliment my height, to say as he likes to do, that I take after him rather than Mom, who only comes up to my ear even in her highest heels. I expect he ll judge I m too skinny. But he just shakes his head, half sad, half confirmed in some belief. (6)
This shows that he doesn t really approve of how she s grown up to be, but doesn t want to say anything to hurt her. The way he looks at her does seem like he s breaking her self-esteem down piece by piece.
Furthermore, Foxy calls me Buffalo Soldier, after the black men who were cavalry scouts and fought Indians a long time ago. He leaves a note stuck in the Africa section of my geography book. (47) Foxy dislikes Rayona for the fact that she s half black and likes teasing her about it. Not even thinking about the way she feels and what he s making her face everyday. Rayona doesn t have a choice about being half black because she was born that way, but she does have the right to speak up for herself and let them know how she feels.
When Rayona gets around to new friends, they too didn t know that she was half black and start to bring it up. He didn t mention you was black, she says. (74) This shows that Sky, her new friend brought the fact that she was black again and took it with a shrug. It doesn t even matter, but it didn t really sound like she talked about it with attitude, but more with amazement. Again Foxy made another comment here: You sure you ain t looking for the Blackfeet reservation? (47) You must of took a wrong turn. This part of the story is where Rayona was on the reservation again and he makes a racial comment about her being half black. He also talked about her big feet that she gets from her dad s side of the family.
Rayona has always had to face the fact that she s not perfect and has to live with it. She has her imperfections with her looks and because of that she has trouble making new friends. The reasons are because she s half black and not full Indian and Rayona s appearance especially her big feet and skinny body. Now is the time she should take a stand and be proud of herself. Those racial comments are dirty looks should no longer hurt her, but make her stronger. Rayona is truly a good and beautiful person inside and out.