4 - InChapter1,:sickness,family,andracial...

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In Chapter 1, Dorris introduces three of his most important themes: sickness, family, and racial  identity. Dorris emphasizes these three themes by beginning the novel in a hospital, where Christine,  a Native-American woman hospitalized because of poor, deteriorating health brought on by drinking,  and visited by her daughter, Rayona, and her husband, Elgin, struggles to keep her sanity. The game of solitaire, which Christine and Rayona play, symbolizes the lonely existence that both  women live. Ironically, however, their isolation means that they must depend on each other for  companionship. Christine cheats at the game, and Rayona allows her to, but what Rayona doesn't  realize is that Christine  wants  Rayona to catch her at cheating. Apparently, their roles are reversed: 
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