The History About Windflower English Literature Essay

Part 1:

The American G.I. – The G.I. is introduced as a young soldier from the American army stationed in Fort Chimo. The reader is introduced to the feelings of a non-Innu as he tries to cope with his environment (with the mosquitoes, lack of air, and his remark of the stifling heat in this so called "cold country" which he compared to Mississippi, p. 9) as he waits in the bush thicket for people (i.e. girls) to come by. As Elsa appears, he sexually influences (not necessarily rape in some perspectives!) her for a pleasurable time, and this event could be considered the initiating incident to actually get the story started with some initial tension in the mood change. After that, he pays Elsa in the form of money implying thoughts of prostitution, the reader’s first glimpse into viewpoints regarding sexuality, and then runs off. For the rest of Part 1, the soldier does not have too much of a role, except being a central thought in Elsa’s mind and being the single most important factor in Jimmy’s birth (which is admittedly crucial to plot development). Elsa does spot the solider again one day after her talk with the pastor, and he lowers his glance upon contact, imploring her to not "do any harm" (p. 16). Later in Part 1, Elsa thinks about the G.I. yet again when she looks at Jimmy, "wondering whether he too could be charming when he chose" (p. 43), showing his significance as a perpetual thought in Elsa’s mind.

Elsa – Elsa Kumachuk is the central character in Windflower, and is introduced right at beginning of the story returning from the movie hall at the Catholic mission with her friends. Through the limited omniscient point of view, the reader is given the ability to look through traditional Innu culture, and the actions and decisions of Elsa in particular. While her friends are disgusted and confused by the notion of kissing and intimacy in the beginning, Elsa provides a different point of view that kissing might seem natural in other parts of the world. "In any case, she finally announced, half serious, half mocking, she would be quite willing to try it herself if only to find out what it was like" (p. 7) can be considered as foreshadowing in the upcoming sexual encounter with the G.I. Throughout the event, Elsa maintains a carefree, passive, and curious attitude to the situation, even laughing when the solider was struggling with the mosquitoes, giving some insight into her early personality. She gets pregnant as a result of the encounter, which is noticed months later. Upon this pregnancy though, her personality completely changes, "from the laughing girl she had been, she had become rather morose and withdrawn" (p. 13) and "She no longer listened to God’s word with the same fresh confident attitude as of old," (p. 13). Everything changes yet again after she gives birth to Jimmy, which is also essential to plot development. It seemed her personality and all feeling of life was restored to her. Her care of Jimmy throughout his years is also very important, as it involves her decisions and tests her skills as a parent regarding Jimmy’s growth. She begins to be more punctual, and believing in order and discipline as well, when she starts the constant bathing ritual for Jimmy, which spreads all over Fort Chimo as the other mothers become interested. At the beginning of Chapter 4 (p. 27 onwards), she becomes very materialistic as she wants to buy fancy clothes and articles for Jimmy to have, and thus she is willing to go back to work for Madame Beaulieu. This work takes up most of her days and is tiring at some points, so she is forced to leave Jimmy back home. Elsa creates a conflict between herself and her mother because she thinks Winnie is not responsible enough to handle basic tasks such as washing, e.g. "Elsa, after an unsympathetic examination of poor Winnie, toothless and none too careful of her person, would be telling herself that this woman could not be her mother" (p. 32). At this point, nothing really seems to satisfy her anymore, things at home being bad and her having to put up with Madame Beaulieu’s moaning. Elsa decides to take Jimmy out to the edge of the beach on Sundays for a picnic, which was a good idea in strengthen the bond between mother and child. Near the end of Part 1, Elsa yet again experiences a change in attitude from being prideful, constantly jittering, and having precision (as noted in p. 46) to reconsidering her lifestyle, after the pastor’s convincing words of living far too exclusively for Jimmy without help from a real spouse. She moves away from the Western mentality and fully realizes that she must change everything to raise up the child, in a more Innu-style culture. Elsa’s plan of moving to Old Fort Chimo was almost foolproof, but the opposition of a depressed Madame Beaulieu prolonged the leave by another year. The unwillingness to leave Madame Beaulieu, who accused Elsa of forsaking her, and grief she felt did not matter at the last event of Part 1, as she uttered a powerful line to the white woman who had taught her so much, "Elsa has to go," (p. 61).

Elsa’s friends – Elsa’s friends play a very small role in the story as a whole, being introduced in the beginning of Part 1 walking back from the movie theatre. They discuss the issues present in an old Clark Gable, and on the whole topic of him kissing a heroine. They remark how kissing and acts of intimacy (e.g. embracing) are really unbelievable and how they would not ever want to do it. This is important because it provides some early depth to plot regarding bigger issues like the differences between sexuality in Western and Innu cultures, as well as setting the mood to a friendly or humorous tone, such as their dialogues.

Reverend Hugh Paterson – The pastor named Hugh Paterson plays a surprisingly big role in Part 1. He is introduced as an advisor to Elsa regarding her pregnancy issue, and is noted as the only person "to take Elsa’s condition really to heart," (p. 13) compared to even her own parents who were making jokes. It is shown that the pastor is a very indignant individual, bombarding an apathetic Elsa (at the time) with tons of question regarding the G.I., whether or not there was coercion or consent on Elsa’s part, and all about the soldier’s physical features. However, he does seem to mean well for Elsa’s health, telling her to let the nurse examine the condition and both Elsa’s and the baby’s health. He embodies the Western culture, valuing the Anglican tradition of the church (i.e. religious societal control), and with it the sexual viewpoints such as being underage and for the soldier to personally take responsibility in raising the child. In the beginning of Chapter 5, the pastor "still felt troubled by the sight of Elsa’s child and did not quite know what to think of his presence among them," (p. 39) still showing his reluctance to the conception of the baby, but nonetheless he also remarks that "in love nothing was foreseeable," (p. 39), coming to consider the value of the bond the two share. A year passes and the pastor visits Elsa and Jimmy on one of their Sunday picnics. He managed to arouse in Elsa, the feelings and events from the past like the brief struggle in the bushes to Jimmy’s origin. The pastor felt reproached when he saw how tired and pained Elsa was feeling working every day for Jimmy’s sake, and questioned Elsa’s lack of a husband, how Jimmy would be taken away from her in the future, and all the neat possessions she buys for him. During this conversation, the pastor single-handedly converts Elsa’s point of view of living from a Western based style back to more of a traditional mindset, influencing her to make the decision of going back to Old Fort Chimo.

Innu community women – Again with a small role, the Innu community women are introduced when Elsa goes to the Catholic mission to introduce the newly born Jimmy to the world. The women ask to hold Jimmy, just for a moment, for rocking or coaxing him, and Elsa was remarked to have unconsciously made the women jealous of her baby at one point. Every day before 10 in the morning, the women would follow Elsa in her daily ritual of going out to the river and bathing their baby. This fixation on imitating Elsa’s routines and awe of Jimmy and his "strand [of hair] rolled over the finger and that was that: the golden topknot held," (p. 25) shows how valued and unique Jimmy is to the Innu culture, along with making Elsa more proud and satisfied.

Jimmy – Jimmy is conceived into the world by the G.I. making Elsa pregnant, and instantly has a profound effect on the culture, and is an integral part of the plot itself. He is the one who breathes life back into Elsa, and there is emphasis on Jimmy’s young looks in Part 1 which involves vivid imagery and metaphors, such as "His eyes were the blue of those glimpses of sky between the snowy April clouds. His hair, as silky as the down on the baby ducks, was already long." (p. 19). This effectively outlines the innocence and freshness of Jimmy as a child in Part 1, which is useful to show the change he later undergoes as a result of growing older and having both the Western and Innu cultures influencing him. Jimmy does create a conflict for Elsa, who does not know whether to raise in him in traditional Innu culture or to be Westernized like his father is. To other mothers, he is something of a special novelty, as noted above; they gape over him during the bathing ritual and always want to hold him longingly. When Elsa goes to work for Madame Beaulieu for some extra money to buy Jimmy all the trinkets and possessions (again showing how Jimmy is being immersed in a Western lifestyle, almost getting spoiled here in the beginning), he is left home under the care of Winnie, Archibald, and Thaddeus. After Jimmy’s first birthday, Elsa buys a playpen to put Jimmy in and stop him from potentially harming himself with dangerous toys, which shocks the whole family, because interference like that was never seen in an Eskimo family before. Jimmy realizes the detriment to this, and whenever Elsa picked him up to put in the pen he would continue to shriek. On Sundays after church, Jimmy enjoyed spending time at the lonely corner of the beach near the Koksoak River, excitingly running and gazing at the landscape. This Jimmy, away from the constant pampering and obsessing of the village people, was more gentle and dreamy, giving a glimpse at the Innu qualities he possessed. Near the end of part, he partakes in a conversation with Thaddeus about the old days of Innu culture and about art. Jimmy requests Thaddeus to make a portrait of him, and is content after a tantrum.

Winnie – Elsa’s mother is introduced at the beginning of Part 1, making jokes about Elsa’s condition of pregnancy and about the G.I. In Part 1, Winnie is shown to be not exactly the best mother, with an easy-going and lazy attitude towards things, never trying to improve herself and her passive life. As stated, Elsa loses lots of time when she works for Madame Beaulieu, so Winnie steps in to take care of Jimmy, who "could scarcely contain her joy at having him all to herself, "(p. 31) implying that she likes spending time with the son very much. She blames Elsa for negatively influencing and spoiling Jimmy, and on some days, "[she] would find herself wondering whether this was really her daughter," (p. 32). She is important to the story because she starts the contentious relationship and hostility between her and her daughter, contributing to the tension and progressing events of the plot with more depth. Soon, Winnie even allows Jimmy to rebel and throw tantrums, and promises to change (through cleaning) upon Elsa breaking down into tears. She remarks that "it would kill her, to take on everything there was to do here if she was to satisfy everyone, but she would try one more time," (p. 37). These words anger Elsa, but Winnie still feels a sense of triumph as Jimmy continues to prefer her presence over his mother’s. She seems to feel dissent and annoyance at the idea of the "old times" and Old Fort Chimo in general, remarking how many of her children died, while absolutely loving the current comfortable lifestyle filled with benefits and advances. Winnie is shown to be deceitful and tricky as well, always slipping Jimmy candies to gain approval and affection.

Archibald – Elsa’s father has a very small role in Part 1 with little importance, but he is also introduced in the beginning along with Winnie, laughing and teasing Elsa’s condition. He contributes to the plot, but as a filler character to make sure Elsa has a fatherly figure (though more emphasis is placed on Thaddeus). His absence is probably due to the fact that he is out hunting or preparing things in the wilderness, so he does have many chances to be home. When Elsa undergoes changes during the time she works for Madame Beaulieu, she shifts these changes on the house as well to reflect the progress. The constant cleaning and rearranging of furniture began to irritate Archibald, who called her out on throwing away the animal skins, possibly implying a more Innu based lifestyle where the skins required effort to get.

Madame Elizabeth Beaulieu – Madame Beaulieu is the one of the only white residents of Fort Chimo, and does play quite a significant role in Part 1 as Elsa’s employer. Elsa gets the inspiration for the bathing ritual and proper cleanliness from Beaulieu as well. Chapter 4 is where Elsa does go back to the begging Madame Beaulieu for work, and the reader gets introduced to her unique personality. Overcome by boredom and depression, Beaulieu also has these tea parties with her lady friends. As Part 1 progresses, Madame Beaulieu kept going into a worse state of melancholy. It is stated that she would "go through the motions" from time to time to "to attach herself to normal life," (p. 58). She pleads with Elsa not to go, saying how lonely she is and demanding for Elsa to talk to her. Beaulieu wanted to know about how the Eskimos lived in the past, and longingly wanted more information to distract herself from the loneliness. After a few successful attempts at coaxing Elsa to stay, when the decision to leave came, Beaulieu could not control herself and burst into tears. However, it is ironically due to Beaulieu’s actions and help that Elsa is able to finalize the decision in leaving to Old Fort Chimo, as "She must [go], it was true, but this would not be forsaking one who had now become her friend for life," (p. 61).

Thaddeus – Thaddeus is Elsa’s grandfather, and is important to the plot involving family relations, particularly with Jimmy whom he grows to like. He is introduced along with the rest of the family, carving snowy owl figures, giving the reader insight to his pastime and personality ("expression of attentiveness to something within," (p. 13). He is known to have strictly minded his own business, but suggested to Elsa that it wasn’t right to confine Jimmy in a pen, offering to take care of him if necessary. Thaddeus possesses good judgment of feelings as well, shown by how Jimmy held out his arms to him, with Thaddeus looking away to show his disapproval and to not hurt Elsa. Thaddeus is delighted at the end of Part 1 when Elsa asks him to recall his memories of Old Fort Chimo and tell her all about. More characterization of Thaddeus happens as he is working on an animal figure sculpture, noted to be a "man of conciliation and peace," (p. 52) and "his words were in unison with his cautious and reflective movements," (p. 52). During this scene, he appeals to Jimmy and knew how to "wonderfully soothe" him as he threw a temper tantrum. Before Part 1 is over, he talks to Elsa some more about the old days, but also about the good that Western influence (i.e. Hudson Bay Company) has brought to Innu life, including flour and tea.

Part 2:

Elsa – Elsa arguably matures during Part 2, undergoing changes because of the shift in lifestyle (to mixed in with Western influence to fully traditional Innu) and regarding her more in depth care of Jimmy (especially considering Winnie’s absence). At the beginning the reader sees Elsa and Jimmy departing for Old Fort Chimo. Upon climbing the grey rocks to visit Ian, she curiously remarks that "[she] loved that silence," (p. 68), already hinting at the path back to the traditional Innu lifestyle that revolves around Part 2. Her venture into the mysterious cemetery sets the atmosphere, not only in the book but for the reader as well, and enables her to reflect on the past regarding the deceased Innu (thus providing more depth). Initially she is not allowed by Ian access to his cabin and sets up a tent. She becomes worried when Ian offers to take Jimmy out fishing, showing her concerned motherly qualities on risks (such as Ian’s fragile craft and dangerous narrows), but gives consent anyway. This worry carries over until Jimmy returns, and then she is noted to feeling unperturbed "for the first time in ages" (p. 75). Change is evident within Elsa and her environment as things like caribou suits and boots are made, and she also begins to find a passion for the old books that Ian has ("such as she had felt in her youth for the movies – an even stronger passion, for the source of delight was now close and certain," p. 79). She becomes excited upon seeing someone else writing in the book; soon interest is picked up in Jimmy. When Elsa feels the desire to send letters back home, especially considering her still present feelings for a despondent Madame Beaulieu, she could never decide on a suitable way of conveying her messages. Once Madame Beaulieu’s husband comes to provide an ultimatum for Jimmy’s education, Elsa feels frantic and obdurate for the first time in her life. As such, she agrees to go out in the wilderness with Ian and Jimmy. After going against his wishes of moving forward and angering Ian (who just sits outside), she manages to coax him back inside for some sexual intercourse.

Jimmy – The events in Part 2 are some of Jimmy’s most pivotal moments in the novel, regarding his growth and development as an Innu child. He finally gets submersed in full Innu culture with Uncle Ian, even more so when they later start travelling up North (until he does attract quite some sickness). The first glimpse into his personality in this new environment is when Elsa shows him the grave of his great-grandmother Jessica, to which he reacts with immense curiosity and astonishment. Jimmy then creates quite a relationship with Uncle Ian, and combined with his young nature and perpetual awe, enjoys scrutinizing Ian’s features. Joyfully, Jimmy points out how "black" and always angry Uncle Ian is. Jimmy gets elated when Uncle Ian takes him out fishing, and despite being tired in the end, it implies the bond between them strengthening, where the reader can further associate with the pseudo father-son relationship beginning to grow (e.g. "[Elsa] saw Jimmy slip his hand into that of the man, which did not withdraw," p. 75). Jimmy grows to enjoy reading and writing almost as much as Elsa. He becomes one of the central topics that Roch Beaulieu and Elsa talk about around the middle of Part 2, and is the single factor that triggers the big move onto the North. During the voyage, Jimmy does enjoy himself initially, with the dogs and the demonstration of small snow igloo is also very important towards his growth. "If this first day of the journey brought the little boy an intoxication that would impregnate his whole life, this was nothing to his bliss when night came to the tundra," (p. 93) illustrates his feelings greatly. With his feelings comes his development itself, where he quickly goes from a hyperactive, energetic child in everyday scenarios, to having "a crease of gentle astonishment on his forehead, on his lips a smile of delight.." (p. 93). This is quite integral to his current characterization. However, it all takes a turn when Jimmy acquires a fever, losing his perception and impressions on the environment and completely changing the flow and tension of the plot. His fever gets so bad that he goes against his mother’s wishes of heading back and agrees completely of the Baffin Island destination. He sees Ian whipping the precious dogs while on the way back to New Fort Chimo and starts shedding tears, meaning he really cared for them. Perhaps another important moment is when he wakes up to see Elsa naked, being repulsed by the sudden new scent. Returning to New Fort Chimo for treatment, this marks Jimmy’s slow ascension back into Western culture as obviously the voyage and traditional lifestyle did not go so well.

Uncle Ian – Uncle Ian is a very important character in Part 2, the one that gives Elsa and Jimmy hospitality at Old Fort Chimo. First impressions of Uncle Ian that the reader gets are not too positive; he does not immediately seem like a nice or caring man to be around. This is evident in the fact that Ian does see Elsa and Jimmy come by his house, but pays them no mind as he continues his work (certainly not a welcoming gesture!). He seems to be extremely fixated on his rightful "Fort Chimo", and definitely embodies the traditional Innu culture effectively. Reminiscing about the old days, he tells Elsa that the whites and Eskimos never used to mix blood. He is still not welcoming to Elsa and Jimmy even after the introductory greetings, giving them one benefit at a time. However, Jimmy does seem to have a profound effect on Ian, their relationship strengthening over time, with Ian opening up more of course. When Elsa and Jimmy ask for paper and pencils, he is reluctant and stubborn to go over to New Fort Chimo, even advocating stone for writing, but in the end agrees to it brining back even more provisions and news of Elsa’s family. He also brings back news of the world to Elsa, where the relevance lies in the ongoing war regarding Western civilization in Korea. It is here where the reader begins to appreciate how knowledgeable and experienced Ian is, with sayings like, "When I was a child, we often heard about white men who were racing to be first their flags at the Pole. Now they go over it or under it with their bombs," (p. 82), outlining the change in civilization. Ian comes up with the plan to flee with Jimmy up north to Baffin Island. He is jubilant as the heavy snow marks their first day of heading out, still showing his love for nature. As soon as Jimmy falls ill though, he becomes quite stony and adamant that a faster course to Baffin Island is the way to go. Elsa’s continuous opposition causes him to break down and sit outside with his rage. His fierce desire for Elsa is what ultimately gets him to come back in, where they both have sex in an incest way. He shows quite an abrasive side to him while going back to Fort Chimo (although it may have been acceptable in Innu culture), continuously whipping the dogs whenever they were not efficient with their movement, an action that upset a sick Jimmy. Ian decides to visit Jimmy one last time in the hospital before he leaves New Fort Chimo forever, and remarks that he won’t be needing his poor Uncle anymore. One significant thing to note is that Ian shows, "his dark face relaxing in an indulgent smile," (p. 100), finalizing the great new bond that the two possess over that period of time. To end off Ian’s appearance in the whole book, he begins to lament the "senseless" concentration of human life held in the New Fort Chimo, being mournful and sad the whole time. "What troubled him was the way this cure had been accomplished," (p. 101) outlines the acknowledgement that traditional Innu methods were overall ineffective compared to the new modern ways of dealing with sickness (i.e penicillin), and as Ian thinks about his deceased wives and children, gazing into the horizon, he leaves the shore resolutely just as bent on holding the traditional Innu values as he was from the start.

Archibald (with Thaddeus and Winnie) – Elsa’s family plays a small role in the beginning in seeing Elsa and Jimmy off to Old Fort Chimo. Archibald has a bit of a larger role because he was to take them across the river by boat. The motor of the boat kept getting caught, and the reader learns of Archibald’s uneasiness and anxiety out on the water, showing at least some development in a minor character. Although not important to the grand scheme of things, Archibald here at least shows care for Elsa, even offering to take her supplies all the way up the mountains for her.

Inez – Inez is the oldest member of the Old Fort Chimo community, toothless and almost deaf, and one who hangs around the cemetery and provides at least one person for Elsa to talk to in the isolated environment. She has a minor role, but is important because of the things she says. Inez reflects on the past, "remembering even harsher times when they used to bury the dead in the infinite tundra," (p. 85) and comparing it to the present, "Now we go on wandering through life long after we’ve stopped being good for anything," (p. 85). Continuing her lamenting, the topic switches over to the war in Korea and about the American G.I. who impregnated Elsa. Inez wisely adds brilliant quotations such as, "Thanks to war and the mixture of blood, the human race will perhaps finally be born... a single family uniting all the nations," (p. 86), "Nowadays you seem to hear of nothing but war. But what is war actually?" (p. 86), and finally "The government, which has never seen us, gives us enough to live on when we’re no longer good for anything or anybody." (p. 86). Here Inez is giving the reader an overwhelmingly deep exploration on pressing issues in even today’s contemporary world, allowing for metacognition and appreciation of the meaning of such quotations.

Roch Beaulieu – Roch Beaulieu is the husband of Elsa’s employer, Madame Elizabeth Beaulieu, and is noted to be kind and sympathetic (especially considering her wife’s mental state). He is the head police officer, and comes in to play in Part 2 for one reason: to have a discussion with Elsa about Jimmy’s current state of education. He is not at ease even at his part in the South, where there is competition and rivalry over positions. Wearing a troubled face, he tells Elsa that Jimmy should be sent back for his educational needs. He gives her an ultimatum of waiting three to four weeks for her decision, before resorting to coercion. He even offers Elsa a full time job as well as a place to live for compensation, showing that he does care for the well-being of all the citizens, not just Jimmy. However, unwittingly he triggers a swift and massive plot change as Elsa and Uncle Ian decide to flee Old Fort Chimo in order to save Jimmy from being taken away.

Part 3

Elsa – Elsa, as expected, plays a huge role in the story all the way through to the end. Towards the end though, she undergoes a shocking personality change very reminiscent of Winnie, which starts when Jimmy decides to leave Fort Chimo. Elsa debuts in Part 3, determined to take back Jimmy from the clutches of the hospital and "changed her aim again and was once more firmly on the side of the white men," (p. 105), signifying a re-visit to a culture or lifestyle she wanted to abandon just a short while ago. Because of this, citizens like Roch Beaulieu and the pastor, give her furniture and accessories galore, where she becomes one of the most fortunate and envied Eskimo women in Fort Chimo. This might be an indication of going back to the old ways of Western materialism. She learns to adapt to her new lifestyle (with Jimmy), including aspects of never deviating from the task, waking up early, washing Jimmy, combing his hair, and sending him to school (throwing away the Eskimo outfit). This is extremely similar to modern/Western parenting, and allows the reader to associate with Elsa’s new actions. With her sewing machine over the few years, she creates tons of objects, trinkets, and clothing for selling to Hudson’s Bay Company (trade!). Soon she works so much that she begins to realize that the job was bound to separate her real life from herself more, but gets reassured by Jimmy in the end. Elsa buys Jimmy a bicycle when he becomes eleven to make sure he doesn’t feel left out to his American buddies. Elsa gets elated whenever Jimmy shouted a big "Hi!" to her outside the window, and notes that the past few months so far have been among the happiest in her life (because of Jimmy yet again, paving the way for a precedent in upcoming events). After her mother’s death, she starts to actually "see" Winnie as a kind of premonition, always in the same place of the beach. There is foreshadowing in this part when she saw herself taking Winnie’s place in the solitary procession of the generations. Elsa slips in her relationship with Jimmy upon a certain stage in his growth, where she has to resort in following him around to what he is up to, causing her more anguish and sorrow in the end. Elsa tries to be more severe to Jimmy when he skips school, providing arguments such as "That has cost the great government that governs us so much money!" (p. 123). She realizes soon that Jimmy is beginning to look at her like a stranger. Even with Jimmy’s hostility though, Elsa continues to treat his son well enough, even after he ran away for a bit. However, by the halfway point of Part 3, she becomes scared to even approach or look at Jimmy, "but she did not dare [comfort him] and felt that she might never dare do so again," (p. 127). After Jimmy leaves the first time, Elsa starts breaking apart and not being aware of her outside world, but not before searching literally every inch of Fort Chimo for her son. Upon getting him back, she knew that she had lost him forever when seeing his appearance and attitude, and even with snippets of idle conversation, she had to let him go carry out his dream (even being proud of him at some points). After this point, little by little Elsa’s life starts falling apart. She gives up sewing completely and has to depart out of her hut. She completely loses her sense of order and discipline; sleeping fully clothed, eating randomly, and doing nothing worth use. It is interesting to note though that she recovers her excitement and life temporarily through the radio, listening to news of G.I.s being deployed in Vietnam and wanting to find out as much information as possible. This is due to her mind still fixated on Jimmy and his goal, how she "had seen him arrive in Vietnam," (p. 139). She goes through the newspaper in search for Vietnam-material, even going as far as to look at females that Jimmy would likely choose. In the end though, Elsa becomes just like Winnie in some senses (e.g. smoking habits), where other people also say, "It’s not possible! But it’s Winnie- Winnie come back to Earth!" (p. 144). She feels the utmost elation and regret at the same time when she did not hear Jimmy’s messages that day. For the rest of the book, she goes around constantly asking everyone what the pilot’s messages were, and what they sounded like. The story ends with Elsa at her worst state; half her teeth gone, having a hunched back, eye always screwed shut with the smoke.

Jimmy – Jimmy is arguably the most central character of Part 3, aside from Elsa. As he quickly develops throughout the part, he experiences significant personality changes, as a result of being re-submersed back into Western culture, which is especially impactful considering he gains more knowledge and more independence as he grows. Spending all that time with the nurse in the beginning gives the reader a first glimpse at his attitude towards Elsa, which is becomingly increasingly non-positive, "he scarcely showed any joy at her visits now, in spite of all presents she brought him," (p. 105). In the new lifestyle, Jimmy gets influenced more and more by the Western culture, the first instance of this is evident when "[he] was invited to meals with one or another of them, he wanted, just as they did, to eat nothing but hamburger," (p. 108). What further outlines his new "spoiled" nature is the fact that he would not eat any the other meats prepared by Elsa, becoming stubborn. "In addition, Jimmy was always asking for nickels and dimes to buy coke, chewing gum, or comics," (p. 109) is such a significant line because it shows Jimmy’s transition to the Western materialistic society that is slowing growing on him. He goes from getting a bicycle, to getting baseball equipment, and to getting hockey equipment. At this point of the novel, Elsa remarks that he is growing at an astonishing rate, getting very tall and skinny among other things. Jimmy also became "morose and taciturn" (p. 120) as well as hostile towards Elsa. Jimmy continually becomes worse in his nature, that his teacher sends for Elsa because she no longer knew how to handle him. He feels that since his American friends left, the school is worthless because of the sole exposure to Eskimo kids. From then on, he reacts coldly and harshly to Elsa, riding away on his bike out of the house after one of her stories. Jimmy learns, through tears and hunger, that "sorrow, rebellion, bitterness – it all ends by going back home," (p. 126), but that does not stop him from running away again, this time for almost a permanent amount of time. Jimmy gets interested in planes at the airstrip, and was found to be a natural for mechanics and emergency piloting. This is an extremely important plot development because it sets the rest of the story for Jimmy as he leaves home once again to join the army to become a G.I. The first time he leaves however, the authorities catch him at Roberval and bring him back to Elsa. At Roberval he does get interested in "pinball machines" though. Jimmy departs yet again for the USA when Elsa acknowledges Jimmy’s desire to go there for his goal. The reader does not hear of Jimmy again until he flies over Fort Chimo years later during the period of the Korean War, addressing his mother and his hometown before departing the final time to live out the rest of his life.

Maurice L’Ecuyer – The new chief police officer of Fort Chimo, he is important during the search for Jimmy when he leaves for the first time. He plays a small role, but manages to call out Elsa’s poor parenting skills.

Madame L’Ecuyer – She is the wife of the new police man in Fort Chimo, who advocated the only language of the land to be French and was noted to be very vehement (i.e. forceful, passionate).

Father Eugene – Another pastor who advocated the language spoken at Fort Chimo to be only Eskimo. He offers Elsa some compensation like work and security once Elsa becomes very despondent in the end. He is the one who communicates with Jimmy at the end when he flies over Fort Chimo, and reminisces over the dead and the past life when Jimmy starts calling out bunches of names. He tells Elsa that the voice of the pilot sounded a cynical and twisted youth figure.

William – A man Elsa meets at the Catholic mission whom she does like, making her face light up whenever he looked at her. This makes her quiver with a new arousing sensation, which is significant because it shows she still has feelings of romance and desire for men even at this point in her life.

Thaddeus – Thaddeus plays about the same role as he did in Part 1, being a good grandfatherly figure to Elsa and Jimmy, with more interesting relationships and interactions with the latter this time. His Part 3 entrance (with him almost being blind) is when he visits Elsa at her new hut, and both when he entered and left had, "a particular reflex that made him wipe his feet on the straw mat on the door, even in the driest weather," (p. 111), which is also noticed by Elsa. This action is significant because it still shows the limitations in the relations between Innu and Western culture, established among all the Innu. Thaddeus is still at carving the articulate sculptures, but acquires Jimmy’s critique along the way (which outlines their solid relationship), and says wisely that Jimmy was put on earth for their "perpetual astonishment" (p. 123).

Winnie – Winnie does not actually have a character role in Part 3 because she dies, found lying in the sand with a cigarette in her mouth, which is quite typical and fitting for her. Surprisingly she is significant in the fact that Elsa’s later personality is modelled similarly to Winnie’s, which holds figurative implications to the theme of change and progress that encompasses the whole novel.

Windflower: Setting Assignment

New Fort Chimo – New Fort Chimo is where the bulk of the book takes place, and is obviously essential to the plot as well as character development (e.g. Jimmy’s growth). It includes two parts, the white men’s village, including the attachment of the American army, and the Eskimo village, which already illustrates the separation between two cultural paradigms. In the beginning, there is an emphasis for the rugged land and scarcely dark summer nights, where there is no real place to make love. The stifling heat, mosquitoes, and bushels of concealing foliage provide a convincing scene when the American G.I. sexually arouses Elsa, and his unfamiliarity to that part near the Eskimo village is shown as well, which evokes other feelings of humour for example. Up to this point, the atmosphere is pretty calm, even during the sex scene. There is a Hudson’s Bay Store situated in New Fort Chimo which further illustrates the Western influence of trade. That store in particular is where Elsa finds and longs for fancy accessories for herself and Jimmy, which also becomes the basis for her working. It includes where the Kumachuk family is living, under Winnie and Archibald’s hut, which then makes an extension to the place where all the family interaction happens. The mood of the setting within these interactions (such as between Elsa and Winnie) are the more tense and unnerving feelings in the novel. Things to note are Elsa’s redecoration and refurnishing of the hut after she gets a new state of mind, and Elsa installing a playpen to confine Jimmy once he is able to walk. Fort Chimo stays until the very ending, where Jimmy and the other G.I. pilots pass by and give out greetings. As a very strong plot conclusion, it seems as if everything is tied back together, with Jimmy giving his Innu roots mixed with the heavy Western influence a tribute.

Koksoak River – A recurring symbol in the book which is mentioned many times throughout the entire plot, the Koksoak River can be considered to representing the perpetual flow of human life through development and change, or it could also represent qualities of the Innu culture itself. Every visit of the setting shifts the mood to one of calming and serenity, making the events seem more light-hearted and lessening any tension. As it is in close proximity to literally all the other settings, it is a very integral part of the book itself. At winter time when the river froze up, it was safe enough to cross, which was done by Uncle Ian and his sled dogs in Part 2, where he went back to New Fort Chimo to buy provisions and accessories as well as bring back news for Elsa. The Koksoak holds further symbolism for many characters in the book, including Elsa (who at the end of Part 3 is basically with the Koksoak wandering for long periods of time in though), Uncle Ian (who turns back from the Western culture after the hospital visit taking a few dramatic steps into the frozen Koksoak), and Winnie (who dies along the beach in Part 3, with the roaring Koksoak literally there with her).

Fort Chimo beachside – The beachside is a very important element in the story, where it is first encountered when Elsa gets the idea to bathe Jimmy regularly along with the rest of the women in the village. It is near the Koksoak, which is also necessary for some events in the book, such as the aforementioned bathing, but as well as for the later appreciation of the imagery and atmosphere right before Part 2 starts. The mood of calming and gentleness is present every time the beach becomes the setting, especially emphasized through how isolated and lonely it is at some points. Every Sunday, Elsa would take Jimmy out to a lonely corner of this beach, beyond the last of the Eskimo cabins and right near the Koksoak, so they could have a peaceful enclosure a relaxing time and a picnic. The pastor paying a visit to Elsa and Jimmy is one of the turning points of the story, because that is when he convinces Elsa to reconsider her lifestyle and how to raise up Jimmy, prompting her temporary departure from New Fort Chimo. Important upon Jimmy’s first departure from Elsa because she decides this place is the best to look for him, where she walks from cove to cove. After Elsa abandons her hut, she finds a shack on the beachside to spend the rest of her life in. This setting becomes one of the most important and integral at the end of the book as Elsa spends the majority of her time here, constantly walking around like a "incorrigible nomad", and is where most of the citizens know where to find her in the cases of important information that needed to be relayed (i.e. Jimmy’s arrival). The very last part of the novel involves Elsa here in this setting, gathering some plant filaments and trifles, and blow them one by one, seeing them scatter and rise into the evening; single-handedly the most powerful piece of imagery that gives the book its name.

Old Fort Chimo – The destination for Elsa and Jimmy in Part 2 after Elsa decides to change her lifestyle up. Old Fort Chimo involves crossing the treacherous Koksoak River, which Archibald shakily handles. Elsa and Jimmy needed to climb up mountains of rocks in order to reach Uncle Ian’s cabin. On the way, they pass by the cemetery which is an important symbol in Old Fort Chimo, symbolizing the many deaths of the Innu since the olden days. The cemetery is revisited again later in Part 2 with Inez introduced, teaching Elsa many lessons in life and reminiscing the past which fits with the theme of a lonely cemetery nicely. One strikingly important quality in Old Fort Chimo is the difference in nature between both Fort Chimos. Elsa takes in the gentle, prolonged, plaintive silence of Old Fort Chimo. Uncle Ian’s cabin is one of the only introduced hospitable landmarks in this setting, with Elsa having to initially set up her own tent. It is seen as malodorous, dark, and uncleanly, filled with piles and piles of objects. There is reference to the other inhabitants of Old Fort Chimo, and how they live near the abandoned store and chapel, "as if hoping for a resurrection of the happy village of former days" (naturally they are all seniors). The atmosphere is more mysterious in the beginning where this unknown territory is being traversed by Jimmy and Elsa for the first time.

Northern voyage to Baffin Island – The voyage starts when Roch Beaulieu comes over to Old Fort Chimo to request that Elsa send Jimmy back so the state can give him a proper education. Elsa adamantly refuses, and to get away from the state entirely, she decides with Ian to go up North to find refuge elsewhere. This signifies an even deeper descent into the wilderness and subsequently Innu traditional lifestyle. This fact is outlined when Jimmy and Ian make igloos along the way to stop and rest for the day. The piercingly cold morning and heavy snowfall sets the scene well, and were just what Ian was looking for. As the harsh wind picks up along with the freezing temperatures, Jimmy cannot handle the extreme environment (proving that the traditional lifestyle does not work for him) and becomes sick with a fever as a result. In the middle of the voyage, there holds a significant scene where Ian sits out in the snow stubbornly because his ideas were opposed by Elsa, but they later have sex as feelings and lust are aroused. The next day they experience a strong blizzard, but the still manage to reach the Koksoak by nightfall, thereby ending the traditional experience for both the Kumachuks. The moods and atmosphere of this setting shifted all throughout the part with this setting, going from happy and satisfying (e.g. Jimmy working on igloos with Uncle Ian), to desperate and tense (when Jimmy gets sick), to powerful and intense (Elsa and Uncle Ian having sex), showing how important different feelings can have in a setting.

Hospital – The recuperating centre that Jimmy goes to after the voyage, influenced by the Western culture. With the nurses, Jimmy learns not to be afraid little by little with less reliance on his mother, so it appears that this setting play a role in character development for Jimmy. He begins to like his time there, especially because he fancies his nurse, and actually does not care much for his mother’s visits despite her bearing gifts. It provides a sense of falling action after the overwhelming events that had just happened before heading back to Fort Chimo.

Madame Beaulieu’s house – A small setting in the book, but nonetheless an important one as this where Elsa is employed to make the money she so desires. Elsa’s task here at the house is to watch over Madame Beaulieu’s kids, as well as later set up tea parties and a conversational atmosphere for the Beaulieu’s friends. It is also the source of many intriguing and desperate chats between a depressed Madame Beaulieu and Elsa, which helps the reader know the bond between the two (as Elsa put it, Beaulieu was actually a "friend for life"). The house itself is noted be a grand complex, fitting because of the people who own it (white, high authority),

Catholic mission hall – The place where Elsa and her friends watched the movies in the beginning of Part 1 and recurs all the way to movie watching in Part 3. This is also the place where Father Eugene gives the Eskimos in the beginning to play cards, smoke, and converse, but Elsa uses it to show off her new born baby, important in both the characterization of Elsa and Jimmy as well as to the flow of the plot. The Sunday sermons are hosted here, which Elsa and Jimmy regularly attend on a weekly basis. The church aspect is relevant in events such as the speaking to formally accept Jimmy as part of the culture (although begrudgingly by the pastor), or to even events like the eulogy at Winnie’s funeral.

Jimmy’s school – A splendid spacious building, and gives an opportunity for Elsa to make comparisons to her own life of education (giving the reader more of an insight).

Fort Chimo airstrip – The place where the airplanes are held and is where Jimmy acquires a huge passion and potential for the job. Elsa returns here to look for Jimmy after he runs off, but this the motivational factor for Jimmy to become a pilot G.I. in the end.

Elsa’s hut – After returning to Fort Chimo in Part 3, Elsa decides to build a hut after she gets her material wealth back. She contemplates putting it in the Eskimo village and the white men village, and chooses the white men village because it would attract less attention. She takes the empty space between the Catholic mission and the Anglican church in the centre of the village. This hut included a window, which has a significant role because she could watch Jimmy play outside with his friends while doing work on a daily basis. The home was noted to be more "intimate" than Uncle Ian’s home, which is a humorous analogy, and was kept very clean. This hut is abandoned when Elsa’s life crumbles away after Jimmy’s departure.