Self-proclaimed bibliophile, culture nut and nerdfighter. English lit. and linguistics geek. Future career in publishing.
I don't want to hear what your father got to say! He's like... like the kind of Indian a white man likes! He's gonna look wise and wait forever... For what? For the kids they take away to come back?
The Ecstasy of Rita Joe
The Ecstasy of Rita Joe is about a young Aboriginal woman who comes from the Caribou Country to the big city and finds herself on trial for numerous charges, like prostitution, theft, etc. She has a certain amount of hours to find people who will vouch for her character or she will go to jail.
This play is written in a very post-modern way, and I've recently discovered that post-modern plays (and post-modern literature in general) are not my favourite kinds of literature. Much like my thoughts on Burning Vision, I didn't like the way this play was arranged. I'm much more of a Shakespeare/Wilde girl in that I like my plays to have acts and scenes that follow in a chronological order that isn't weaving all over the place in dreamscape or memory.
This is a very important play in Canadian literature because it highlights the plight of Aboriginal peoples so well. I definitely agree that it has a very sympathetic perspective on the issues that Aboriginal peoples had and have to deal with in Canada: poverty, alcoholism, stereotypes, racism. Some of the parts are effective in hitting the message home, but other parts were unnecessary. The ending, for example, ultimately made me think that everything was futile; it wasn't important for the story other than to illuminate the racism which was evident throughout the court process.
However, I did enjoy that the Aboriginal characters appeared to be more multidimensional than their white counterparts. It's always nice to have people of colour represented more thoroughly. I also really liked that the good intentions of Mr Homer, a man who does charity work for the First Nations on the reservation, had a bit of the ol' "I'm helping poor people" self-satisfaction rather than actually treating these people as people who deserve respect.
A great look at the issue with white vs. First Nations during the 1960s that is still semi-relevant today. Although, it's not the best or most enjoyable read if you like your plays to be sequential and ordered nicely.