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Zitkála-Šá and the Place of U.S. Regionalism


In their American Women Regionalists: 1850-1910 (1992) anthology, Judith Fetterley and Marjorie Pryse frame Zitkála-Šá in these terms: she “shares with the other writers in this volume a concern with the way place—her early years on the reservation—and her relationship with her mother formed her identity and became the subject matter for her writing, and the she expresses the desire to tell Indian legends and stories in an Indian voice, demonstrating once again the impulse shared by regionalist writers to shift the center of perception to the native speaker” (534). Please note that when Fetterley and Pryse use the term “native speaker” that they also apply this to white women characters recounting tales about other rural regions in the United States.


Taking into account their characterization of her work, answer both of the following questions:


1. Contrast how Layli Long Soldier’s characterization of Zitkála-Šá with Fetterley and Pryse’s regionalist framing of her writing. What similarities or differences do you note?


2. After reading “Impressions of an Indian Childhood” and “The School Days of an Indian Girl,” who do you think possesses a better grasp of Zitkála-Šá’s writing: Soldier or Fetterley and Pryse?

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