In a Mirror Clearly Narrative-Based Interventional and Restorative Possibilities in There There

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This paper explores indigenous author Tommy Orange’s novel There There as holding radical potential for both white and indigenous audiences. Using several narrators, Orange presents a multi-generational, multinational resistance to monolithic stories of Native Americans. For non-indigenous American audiences, the novel acts as an intervention on the violence of the image of the “authentic Indian” perpetuated by contemporary media and culture. For indigenous audiences, especially youth, storytelling subverts the authenticity regime and allows for representation to hold healing potential. Ultimately, Orange challenges that regime through crafting a narrative in which the characters’ lives and stories stand against their own systems of power. The dual power of There There allows all audiences to see real Native Americans clearly.

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Graduate Research Prize (English)