Margaret Laurence's Short Story The Loons

Words: 752
Pages: 4

In Margaret Laurence’s short story, “The Loons”, there is a Métis girl named Piquette who is often presented as not belonging anywhere. Society’s racism towards the Métis people causes Piquette’s alienation. The racism and discrimination of the Métis people is presented by the reaction of the other characters towards Piquette, specifically Vanessa’s gradually changing view of them. Striking imagery of the loons is also used to portray the conflict of not belonging. Vanessa’s developing understanding of the conflict of racism and alienation corresponds with the loons symbolizing the Métis people in that they both reflect how Métis people are treated in society. The reaction of the other characters toward Piquette shows the external conflict …show more content…
Vanessa forms her point of view on Piquette based on stereotypes because she does not really understand Piquette. At the very beginning, Vanessa thinks of Piquette “only as a vaguely embarrassing presence”(89). The fact that Vanessa thinks of Piquette as an embarrassing presence tells readers that, like the rest of society, she disparages Piquette. However, the word “vaguely” suggests that Vanessa knows nothing about Piquette, and is therefore forming her opinion based on stereotypes. Later on, Piquette began to interest Vanessa because she thought Piquette was “a kind of junior prophetess of the wilds “ (91). In this situation, Vanessa thought that Piquette is like the some of the First Nations Peoples who are very connected with nature and will sometimes tell about mystical things in nature. This common stereotype angers and alienates Piquette because Vanessa thought of her as a culture instead of an individual. Years after that summer at the lake together, Vanessa and Piquette meet again. Vanessa is “ashamed of [her] own timidity”(94) but she “could not help despising the self-pity in [Piquette’s] voice” (94). By this time, Vanessa has realized how it is wrong treat Piquette as something different, but she despises the self pity in Piquette’s voice because she still does not understand Piquette’s problems. Vanessa forms her opinion of