The fifth and final book in the series “Violence and Belonging: The 14th Amendment and American Literature.” Reza Jalali, a scholar from USM, will facilitate the discussion.
In The Round House, a loose sequel to 2008’s The Plague of Doves, Erdrich turns her attention to how federal law has directly shaped the physical and psychological landscape of reservation life. Unlike earlier novels, this book offers a single narrator, who recalls the darkest episode of his childhood, a tale of traumatic violence that lays bear the limits of the legal ideals and system of justice for which the 14th Amendment remains a powerful emblem. The moral questions this riveting novel raises about revenge, the meaning of justice, and the uses of the law provide a raw-edged point of entry into understanding the legal limbos of Native American history. As a contribution to this book series’ course of readings and discussions,The Round House helps to expand and illuminate the broader legal landscape of race and citizenship within and against which the 14th Amendment emerged.