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Journal Article

The Word for World Is Story: Syncretic Fantasy as Healing Ritual in Thomas King's "Green Grass, Running Water"

Greg Bechtel
Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts
Vol. 19, No. 2 (73) (2008), pp. 204-223
https://www.jstor.org/stable/24352453
Page Count: 20
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Abstract

Thomas King's Green Grass, Running Water is often conceived of as a type of resistance text, resisting Western paradigms and aesthetic structures through distinctively Native strategies such as the use of mythic and oral storytelling structures. However, although existing critical approaches have effectively explored King's subversion of mainstream Western ideological and literary conventions, these investigations also tend to construct strong binary distinctions between Native and non-Native texts that are, in some senses, restrictive. Consequently, this paper reconsiders King's novel as fantasy, a genre which is neither Native nor not-Native but nonetheless remains compatible with the narrative structures of King's text. By developing a critical heuristic of syncretic fantasy, this analysis sidesteps persistent binaries of Native versus non-Native identities in order to produce a less restrictive both/and approach to King's novel, an approach that recognizes the potential power of Story to heal and literally re-create the world(s) in which we live.