A Yellow Raft in Blue Water

Nicole Freche Mr. Ontiveros World Literature – 2nd period December 5, 2010 Friends Forever! “Trust is like a vase… once it’s broken, though you can fix the vase, it’ll never be the same again” – Author unknown. Almost every person has had at least one person who he or she can confide their secrets. Over time one can learn whether or not he or she can trust or believe another will hold that confidence. If that certitude is shattered, it takes time again to reconcile and to earn it back.

In Michael Dorris’s novel, A Yellow Raft in Blue Water, Ida is a girl who entrusts in her young Aunt Clara with secrets from school to boys. When Clara reveals Ida’s hope about Willard Pretty Dog, the trust is broken; despite this, Ida still helps Clara and also creates herself a new certitude through Clara’s daughter, Christine. Clara comes to live with Ida and her family to take care of Mama and instantly Ida becomes infatuated with her. Clara is the opposite of Ida: pretty, little, and neat. Ida acts very friendly and giving towards Clara.

After a while she admits that she “confided my secrets and sought her advice” (Dorris, 303). Ida even felt “encouraged by her sureness” (304) with what she has told her; especially when Ida tells Clara about her crush and hope of Willard Pretty Dog. Clara makes Ida feel good about herself with the advice she gives her. Ida feels as if she has a friend that she can trust and a person who can be a role model. Ida has created her certitude through Clara. Clara has brought shame to the family and is pregnant with Ida’s father’s child.

In order to hide this shame Clara came up with the idea of Ida pretending to be with child. Clara mentioning this hurts Ida but what hurts Ida even more is the reason behind the story that makes it more plausible to Mama and Papa. Clara tells them that “No one would be surprised. Everyone’s aware she’s after Willard Pretty Dog” (309). Ida is shocked at Clara’s betrayal of revealing her hopes. Clara’s remark does not only break Ida’s certitude in her, but also shows the low inclination Clara has on Ida.

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