Louise Erdrich’s The Round House and Sexual Violence Against Native American Women
Prof. Louise K. Barnett
Louise Erdrich’s The Round House is a compelling novel about a white man’s rape of a Native American woman. Although rape is common on reservations––Erdrich in her “afterword” cites Amnesty International’s finding of one in three women affected––her fictional representation is not a typical case but a targeted attack that is part of a larger plot. It is also atypical in its extreme nature: the rapist intended to kill his victim by setting her on fire. In this her most Faulknerian novel, Erdrich is unable to resolve the dilemma of what to do when the law is impotent to achieve justice.
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