Female dominance in the story fleur by Louise Erdrich
“Tracks” is a novel explaining the fusion of religion and spirituality in defining a person’s identity. It talks about the lives of two different women being intertwined by fate and at the end they both fight for superiority. The novel explains the role of a number of themes like magic, sexuality, religion, racism, and sexism in the daily life of the characters. Female dominance is the main theme explained especially by showing the lead characters and narrator as women. The story is said in the first person narrative with Pauline giving the story. To explain female dominance, we have to look the role played by the women in the story.
Fritzie Kozka is portrayed as a physically weak, “...string-thin” but mentally strong woman. She works with Fleur at the butcher but leaves all the heavy work to Fleur. Her expertise with knives is explained as “she handles the razor sharp knives with nerveless precision”. Fritzie has a powerful influence over her husband that he keeps to himself all the time. She is also described as one who does not tolerate talking behind her back. Her prowess is also seen when she refuse people not to enter their butcher in an attempt to remove the three dead men, saying they would spoil their meat (Lauter, 2010).
Pauline Puyat is the narrator of the story. She is a religious woman who is raised in a mixed race family. Pauline’s main highlight comes when she kills the three butcher men who rape Fleur. It is not clear whether she did this to soothe her troubled conscience or as she said, “it was Fleur’s magical powers that compelled her that power travels in bloodlines”. She struggles to learn English ways like reading and writing instead of her family traditions of knitting. Pauline’s confuses her religion of Catholicism to cover up for her mixed feelings towards Fleur. It’s admiration, jealousy or hatred. At the end, she claims she would take Jesus’ place in defeating the devil, as Jesus was a weak servant, and ends up killing Napoleon (Magil & May, 2006).
Fleur Pillager has supernatural powers and magic tied to her sexuality. She is introduced as drowning, twice in her life and the men who save her end up dying mysteriously. She moves out of her family land in matchimanito, but later goes back to save it form the surveyors. When she joins the butcher, she beats the three men at cards game, and this infuriates the men to plan evil against her, and they rape her “She infuriates them with her boldness and confidence”. Pauline later claims that she Fleur was responsible for the storm that led to the death of the three men who raped her. Fleur is a physically and psychologically strong woman even though she refuses to embrace Christianity. She denies herself food in order to feed others during winter. The situation at the butcher represents a battle between the sexes. With the three men trying to maintain what belongs to them, ”power” as the women succeed in taking it.