Annotated Bibliography

Burnette, Catherine Elizabeth, and Charles R. Figley. “Historical Oppression, Resilience, and Transcendence: Can a Holistic Framework Help Explain Violence Experienced by Indigenous People?” Social Work, vol. 62, no. 1, Jan. 2017, pp. 37–44.

This scholarly article from Catherine Elizabeth Burnette breaks down different levels of oppression, how they are interconnected, and why one can lead to another. Specifically, Burnette talks about the experience of Indigenous people in the United States. She provides a “holistic lens,” a new way of looking at the systems of oppression in place. It is important to note that observation alone does not solve an issue. However, acknowledgment of an issue can be the first step to solving it. In this article, Burnette talks about the concept of historical oppression of Indigenous populations and ways we can see the effects of that today. This is particularly helpful for our analysis of “Saint Marie” because she is discriminated against for her Indigenous heritage. Violence is inflicted upon her, and due to historical oppression on the many levels talked about in this article, Marie believes she deserves this. This article provides an additional frame of reference for the social and historical oppression of Indigenous people.

Castillo, Susan. “Women Aging Into Power: Fictional Representations of Power and Authority in Louise Erdrich’s Female Characters.” Studies in American Indian Literatures, vol. 8, no. 4, 1996, pp. 13–20. JSTOR,

The author, who studied American literature at Oregon State University, attempts to rationalize Erdrich’s texts into useable and understandable language. This particular source is helpful in determining power and authority, which is key to understanding the psyche of the characters in this story and what they may be repressing on a subconscious level. The main idea here is that power does not necessarily mean authority, and women will often experience a blockage in this category as they are predominantly written as both when circumstances do not suit them. This source does fall short in establishing a psychological analysis purely based upon Saint Marie; It encompasses all of Erdrich’s work in order to take a more feminist viewpoint. However, the central idea that Marie and Sister Leopolda hold no authority in a story revolving around religion is rife with content from which we can interpret and sets a good basis for analysis. This is a biased article, as it pertains specifically to Erdrich’s work, but it does exhibit the repression of emotion and startup people may face and how they can supersede their reality in order to establish a sense of normality in whatever capacity they can achieve.

Humbert, Anne Laure, et al. “Undoing the ‘Nordic Paradox’: Factors Affecting Rates of Disclosed Violence against Women across the EU.” PLoS ONE, vol. 16, no. 5, May 2021, pp. 1–24.

This is a scholarly article describing different contextual factors that affect rates of violence against women across the European Union. The author, Anne Laure Humbert, explores these factors, including social equality, and their relevance to legal protections for women in the surveyed area. Humbert also looks into how data was collected and how the surveys were conducted each time. These are just a few of the factors that Humbert explores throughout this article. I believe this article is relevant to our short story Saint Marie because Marie is subjected to continual violence in the name of holiness. Violence against women has always been a prevalent issue, and even more so in the time period this story is set in. This article helps provide cultural and social context today as to why so much violence against women takes place and will help provide context that can be traced back in time to the setting of Saint Marie.

Kristianto, Bayu. “The Notion of the Body and the Path to Healing.” International Journal of Religion & Spirituality in Society, vol. 2, no. 3, Mar. 2013, pp. 41–53. EBSCOhost,

Kristianto explores the damages done to Native children through the boarding school system. The author explores Native stories of healing through the body and how these schools hurt a student’s body to save their spirit. Using healing as her backdrop, Kristianto explores the ideologies of the Native children and the colonizers. By exploring the differences in ideology, Kristianto explains how trauma experienced by Native children can be healed. Recalling the tales of the boarding schools, we see a reflection of them in Saint Marie as a Native child is torn down because of the “dark” in her. This is a direct parallel to the trauma Native children experienced.

Leahy, Rachel. The Devils of Cultural Conflict in Louise Erdrich’s “Saint Marie.” Faculty Mentor: Diya Abdo, Guilford College.

Leahy’s analysis goes deeper into the historic cultural and religious values behind Saint Marie. By including information about the Chippewa and European motifs and symbols found in the piece, as well as allusions to Christianity and Chippewa folklore, she shows how Marie’s embodiment of double consciousness is founded in and affected by both.

“Louise Erdrich.” Poetry Foundation, Poetry Foundation.

This source is the biography page from Poetry Foundation’s entry on Louise Erdrich. It covers the highlights of her bibliography, as well as a detailed rendition of the woman’s life story, including her cultural heritage and her internal struggles between her family’s Ojibwe traditions and Catholicism. The reason I think this will be useful is that it highlights the tension she noted between those two cultures, and it will be enlightening to compare her personal opinions to the actual text my criticism is evaluating.

Metzl, Marilyn Newman (2003). Review of The Reproduction of Mothering; Feminism and Psycohoanalytic Theory; Femininities, Masculinities and Sexualities; The Power of Feelings by Nancy Chodorow. New Haven: Yale University Press. PP. 55-60.

Newman is a Doctor of Philosophy in psychoanalysis, solidifying this as a source of direct information that pertains to the type of analysis that this paper utilizes. This provides both historical context as well as proof of psychological criticism as the author appropriately plays off the work of Nancy Chodorow, a well-established psychoanalyst herself, and furthers the thought process behind the inherent upbringing that children will receive in response to the treatment they should have received from their mother. Such treatment will determine how the adolescent will perceive themselves and the world when they reach adulthood.

This source is a good starting point for those looking to dive into psychological criticism and how it can pertain to a specific text. However, the sheer amount of information and conceptualizations in this book review are hard to process unless one is promoting a very specific idea led by Chodorow. It is relatable in lending support to the methodology behind this short story and allows us to choose a type of psychological analysis that best fits the power dynamic represented between Marie and Sister Leopolda. As Chodorow bases her methodology off of Freud’s we can further establish motive in using such an article, as the Oedipus complex shines through and translates over into female territory, allowing us to establish a new thesis surrounding Saint Marie: We learn that early childhood development usually has a sexual undertone that will carry on into adulthood, affecting the thought processes of each character.

Norris, Christopher. “Chapter 2: Jacques Derrida: Language Against Itself.” Deconstruction, Taylor & Francis Ltd / Books, 2002, pp. 18–40. EBSCOhost,

Norris’ article explores Jacque Derrida’s ideas on philosophy and literary criticism while applying it to the lens of deconstruction along with other writers’ views. The use of language and paradoxes in texts characterizes deconstruction. Derrida’s ideas regarding priority of the traditional relationship of creative and critical language. The spoken word, not the written word, is more prioritized for Derrida, as there is no language without speaking it first.

This chapter shows the process and origin of deconstruction. The main aspects of deconstruction featured are explained thoroughly and are helpful in applying the lens to Saint Marie. The extensive explanation of Derrida’s philosophy regarding deconstruction and how to apply it makes it a good method source. The philosophies used by other writers bring other perspectives demonstrates how deconstruction came to be and the contentions regarding it. The informative tone Norris has in the chapter makes it a good resource for those working with deconstruction.

Padgett, Tim. “Robes for Women.” TIME Magazine, vol. 176, no. 13, Sept. 2010, pp. 53–55. EBSCOhost,

This article by Tim Padgett discusses a sexist tradition within the Catholic church: the refusal to ordain women as ministers. In a quote from the Vatican in this article, the church calls ordaining women a “delictum gravius” which means a “grave crime.” This was the same term they used to describe pedophilia. This begs the question- according to the “official” Catholic church, is ordaining women equal to molesting children? Padgett talks with females who were ordained by an organization founded in Europe called Roman Catholic Woman-priests. These female priests are not welcome in usual churches for Catholic worship and often hold their masses in makeshift spaces or Episcopalian churches. According to the article, though there has been a severe decline in men volunteering to be priests in the past thirty years or so (it dropped by over a third), they are more likely to allow married men than women into “legitimate” priesthood. Furthermore, according to a poll conducted by the New York Times, more than half of the population supports the ordination of women. The hope is that it will eventually become normalized and accepted. This is relevant to Saint Marie because the story displays a clear bias against women in the Catholic church. This creates contextual and logical tension: why would a woman endure such abuse and strife for a community that treats her like a second-class citizen due to her gender?

Riley, Patricia. “There Is No Limit to This Dust: The Refusal of Sacrifice in Louise Erdrich’s Love Medicine.” Studies in American Indian Literatures, vol. 12, no. 2, 2000, pp. 13–23. JSTOR, Accessed 2 May 2023.

Riley’s article discusses Louise Erdrich’s use of religious symbolism in both the Christian Church and Native American cultures to show the clash of cultures her characters face. The role of the sacrificial victim that Erdrich’s characters that reflect the stereotype of those living in mixed cultures are refused. The article uses the story of Saint Marie as an example of this clash of cultures. The heroine overcomes her adversary who wants to silence the Native American side of herself and rises above the expected role of victim. She wins by listening to the Trickster associated with her tribe and not letting her culture get erased.

This article is supported by a variety of other sources and is knowledgeable about the topic. The argument is sound and supported. This article is well-written and concise and provides some good insight into the short story. The author’s knowledge of both the Christian and Native American mythologies make the argument clear and support it. This article is very easy to read and comprehend.

Rowe, John Carlos. “Buried Alive: The Native American Political Unconscious in Louise Erdrich’s Fiction.” Postcolonial Studies, vol. 7, no. 2, July 2004, pp. 197–210. EBSCOhost,

John Rowe is a professor of humanities and English and a known Americanist. He has a lengthy list of books published from the 1990s into the 2010s. Rowe’s intention with this article is to highlight Erdich’s political views in her novel “The Master Butchers Singing Club.” Rowe discusses how her politics in this novel connect to her other works. Rowe focuses on postcolonial study and how this can apply to Erdrich’s work. This article is intended for students of his and those who seek out Erdrich’s political views and wish to understand Native American studies more. Rowe decides that there is a miracle in Erdrich’s writing and that she is able to take hardships and create new lives for her characters.

Running Bear, Ursula, et al. “The Relationship of Five Boarding School Experiences and Physical Health Status among Northern Plains Tribes.” Quality of Life Research, vol. 27, no. 1, Jan. 2018, pp. 153–157. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1007/s11136-017-1742-y.

Ursula Running Bear performed a scientific study of 771 participants to see the effects of boarding school abuse on the health of American Indians. This study was conducted to prove whether students in the boarding school system generally have poorer health than students who were not exposed to such an environment. The article includes charts and data about the participants in the study. The results show that boarding school attendees have a lower average physical health than their peers who did not attend boarding school. This article will provide data as an example of trauma to Native people. By providing data for physical abuse, this article will further the point that Native culture was seen as an evil practice and needed to be eradicated.

Sanders, Karla. “A Healthy Balance: Religion, Identity, and Community in Louise Erdrich’s Love Medicine.” MELUS, vol. 23, no. 2, 1998, pp. 129–55. JSTOR, Accessed 2 May 2023.

Sander’s article discussed Louise Erdrich’s characters and how they manage to create a healthy balance between Christian influence and Native American culture. Two of the heroines are used as examples as how they achieved this balance. Their life experiences living in two vastly different cultures. Their beliefs and desires may be different but in the end they both attain a healthy balance in their lives. The balance is not only between differing cultures, but a sense of self and empowerment as well.

This article is well-written, with sources supporting the argument. The author’s knowledge of the book and the characters’ lives make the argument clear and concise. The language is easy to read and comprehend. A lot of details are provided and aid the argument. All in all, this is an excellent source to use.

Shaw, Tobyn. “The Power of History and Belief.” Historical/new historical. Beginnings and Endings A Critical Edition. 14, May 2021.

Tobyn Shaw was a college student at The College of Western Idaho and published an analysis of Louise Erdrich’s “Saint Marie”. Shaw took a historical/new historical approach to his analysis, showcasing his skill and understanding of this criticism approach. Shaw focuses on the belief aspects of the story and provides examples of how religion and history form the belief of the characters in the story. Written for his classmates, instructor, and for other scholars to read, Shaw is concise and explains his ideas behind colonialism and the historical values of the short story. His complete understanding is that this story is one directed towards Native Americans and those alike who have found prejudice in religion and how much influence religion has on the historical value of this story.

Schultz, Lydia A. “Fragments and Ojibwe Stories: Narrative Strategies in Louise Erdrich’s Love Medicine.” College Literature, vol. 18, no. 3, Oct. 1991, p. 80. EBSCOhost,

This article analyzes the intersection of Ojibwe and Western cultural and religious symbolism in Love Medicine, a larger work by Erdrich which includes Saint Marie. I selected this article as a source to address the cultural clash going on behind-the-scenes in the short story, and how the behavior of each character can also be seen through the lens of cultural criticism in addition to my own criticism that focuses far more extensively on the relationship the characters have with morality both within and without.

Stock, Richard T. “Native Storytelling and Narrative Innovation: Louise Erdrich’s Love Medicine as Fictional Ethnography.” Brno Studies in English, vol. 41, no. 1, Jan. 2015, pp. 175–193. EBSCOhost, doi:10.5817/BSE2015-1-11.

This article dives deeper into the cultural implications of Saint Marie, including political meanings and arguments baked into the story. It argues that the piece can be utilized as a sort of “fictional ethnography” with which to examine Native American history in the 1900s. This article was selected for similar reasons to the last. My criticism was largely among moral lines, and since the story itself had little detail concerning Marie’s past, I thought it beneficial to dig a little deeper and learn more about that aspect of the work.

Tanrisal, Meldan. “Mother and Child Relationships in the Novels of Louise Erdrich.” American Studies International, vol. 35, no. 3, 1997, pp. 67–79. JSTOR,

This source was vital in establishing the motive that possessed Erdrich to dip into Psychological analysis. Sister Leopolda is said to be carried over from several of her other novels, along with other prominent mother figures, which becomes the goal of the article; credibly determine whether characters in this short story create outlandish figures (in this circumstance, the devil) as a coping mechanism. This plays heavily into psychoanalysis and in evaluating whether the characters may be justified in their rationalizations of reality. This author has a Ph.D. in literature and is certainly qualified to weigh in on Saint Marie. This article is the most relevant of the three as it connects the questions of power and authority to the psychology behind Erdrich’s decision to write Marie the way that she did. This supports the argument that Marie may have a connection to the Sister as a mother figure as it questions the basis of mother/child relationships and how this affects the child later in life. The information remains pertinent as mother and daughter relationships are further digested throughout Erdrich’s other works, signifying a pattern that tends towards maternal love being dynamically significant in supporting or opposing a child’s experience of life.

Taylor, Marie Balsley. The Religious Symbolism of Louise Erdrich. 2009. Lucy B. Maddox, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences of Georgetown University. 2009.

This author breaks down religious symbolism in four of Erdrich’s novels. She focuses primarily on the use of water, symbols of the Virgin Mary, and Priests. In particular to my purposes, she dedicates an entire section to the use of water and the symbolism of baptism and religious conversion. While my paper is a new criticism that considers the text the ultimate authority, it is profitable for me to consider how other critics wrote about the story and the details they have noticed that I may have missed. It also provides me with an opportunity to tackle other opinions and counterarguments to my own.

Wellington, Rebecca. “Girls Breaking Boundaries: Acculturation and Self-Advocacy at Chemawa Indian School, 1900-1930s.” American Indian Quarterly, vol. 43, no. 1, Winter 2019, pp. 101–132. EBSCOhost, doi:10.5250/amerindiquar.43.1.0101.

Wellington looks at Chemawa Indian School in Salem, Oregon from the year 1900 into the 1930’s, where female students advocated for better educational opportunities. These students lead a small rebellion to reach the goal of a better educational system and a more diverse curriculum for female students. The essay explores the history of boarding schools funded by the federal government. It also explores the student’s view of their environment and how they strived to change it, knowing the barriers they faced. This article is an example of young women working against the system they have been placed in. Likewise, Marie makes her own decision to ascend the mountain, enter the convent, and fight against the same oppressive system.







Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Beginnings and Endings: A Critical Edition Copyright © 2021 by Liza Long is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Share This Book