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"The Flower"


In Louise’s story The Flower, an eleven year old Ojibwe girl has a hard life. Her father abused her mother and her mother later becomes an alcoholic. A white trader named Mackinnon buys the young girl from her mother for alcohol. A clerk that works for Mackinnon named Wolfred tries to help the young girl get settled in and cleaned up. While cleaning her up he notices her beauty and soon realizes Mackinnon will take advantage of that. He then puts mud back on her face and tries to teach her a job to do that wouldn’t expose her beauty in anyway. One day Wolfred sits down to eat with Mackinnon and the girl comes over to get her bread. Wolfred notices that her dress is split right down the middle and signals to her asking if it was Mackinnon. The girl just puts her head down and eats her dinner. Wolfred is upset about this and thinks of everyway possible to kill Mackinnon without them getting in trouble for it. Finally, he realizes that the girl would know about the poisonous berries and plants. They make Mackinnon food and when it starts affecting him they start to run away. Throughout the journey they start to fall for each other. Wolfred is constantly asking what her name is and she just laughs. Finally they make it to a village and a family takes them in. Wolfred asks the girl if she will marry him when she gets older and she tells him yes. Again he asks her name and she just draws a flower. Wolfred offers to send her to a school for Indians to further her career. The girl is having a hard time at the school but she realizes being there isn’t the worst thing in the world. She says in the story, “Nobody got drunk. Nobody slashed her mother’s face and nose, ruining her. Nobody took a knife and stabbed an uncle who held her foot and died as the blood gushed from his mouth. Another good thing she thought of while the other children wept was that the journey to the school had been arduous and far. Much too far for a head to roll.” (Erdrich, 2015)

This story is like any story having to deal with sex enslavement and enslaved persons in general. This story is about a young Indian girl bought by a white trader who has her do jobs around the house and later takes advantage of her. In class, we read the Orature which had multiple stories that talked about enslaved persons that were struggling and we able to break free. This story the young girl is struggling and later is able to break free and run away thanks to Wolfred.

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