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Margaret Laurence's short story The Loons - Racism.

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The Loons: Racism Margaret Laurence's short story The Loons is a tale about the uneasy relationship of the female narrator with a French half-breed girl named Picquette. The narrator is a woman named Vanessa looking back on her youth and reflecting on her attempts to befriend Picquette who had a big chip on her soldier as a result of her minority status. The Loons is a tale that illustrates how racism exists in the guise of good intentions, intolerance and stereotyping. Good intentions can somehow result in conflicts. When Vanessa's good-hearted father Ewen decides to invite Picquette to stay at the family cottage, it is the narrator's mother Beth who puts up resistance. ...read more.


"Oh Dear, "my mother said in distress, "I'll bet anything she has nits in her hair." (Laurence 313) Up to this point, the negative comments about Picquette could have been class related but it is Vanessa's grandmother MacLeod who sets the stage for the racist attitude that some family members have. Grandmother MacLeod decides not to go to the cottage if Picquette is invited and displays her intolerance. "Ewen, if that half-breed youngster comes along to Diamond Lake, I'm not going," she announced. "I'll go to Morag's for the summer." (Laurence 314) Grandmother MacLeod could learn a lesson from the Recovering Racists Network. "to take personal responsibility for, and to inspire others to work on, healing racism and overcoming intolerance."2 Vanessa the narrator is far from perfect in her attitude towards Picquette. ...read more.


When applied to people, stereotyping refers to forming an instant or fixed picture of a group of people, usually based on false or incomplete information."3 This is how Vanessa acted. In her short story The Loons, Margaret Laurence illustrates that there is racism in all of us and it shows itself in different ways. Good intentions by Vanessa's father leads to resistance to Picquette's visit to the family cottage. Vanessa's mother and grandmother believe that Picquette is inferior and the narrator believes that all aboriginals are skilled in the arts of forest survival. We could all learn a lesson from The Loons. Good intentions can go hand in glove with intolerance and stereotyping. Sources Laurence, Margaret, XXXXX General Assembly News, http://www.pcusa.org/pcnews/oldnews/1999/ga99113.htm Welcome New Brunswick, http://www.gnb.ca/hrc-cdp/e/sayno.htm#prejudice Recovering Racists Network, http://www.rrnet.org/fullhome.htm 1 General Assembly News, http://www.pcusa.org/pcnews/oldnews/1999/ga99113.htm 2 http://www.rrnet.org/fullhome.htm 3 http://www.gnb.ca/hrc-cdp/e/sayno.htm#prejudice 2 ...read more.

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