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Introduction To Literature

Grafting And Justice

Thesis Statement: “To analyze how the amalgamation of elements throughout the story leads to ultimately serving of Justice.”

'The Round House' sums up a story of Land, Family and Justice. During the very beginning, Joe Coutts, the protagonist of the novel is helping his father, Bazil Coutts, judge on a certain Ojibwe Reservation in North Dakota, to pry out tree seedlings. After his father leaves, Joe quotes, “As my father prodded away blindly at the places where he sensed roots might have penetrated, he was surely making convenient holes in the mortar for next year's seedlings… it seemed increasingly important to me that each one of these invaders be removed down to the very tip of the root, where all the vital growth was concentrated” (The Round House by Louise Endrich: Joe Coutts Character Analysis, 2019).

This reference within the novel sets out the frame for its theme of Grafting and Justice. Joe's mother has been brutally raped and goes into depression. Somewhere down the story, Bazil reveals how he once presided a case about a white woman Linda Wishkob who was abandoned by her family as she suffered from birth defects and was later adopted. The story reveals how this aspect links the perpetrator Linden Lark, who is the rapist of Joe's mother and brother of Linda Wishkob, who was asked for her kidney for is brother who grew up to be a racist violent drunk.

As for justice, both Bazil and Joe opts out ethical means to ensure justice, but the Chippewa culture judicial system fails to support and Linden Lark is released. Subsequently, Joe learns from his grandfather's stories about how pre-colonial Chippewa Judicial system could ensure justice after failure of the US legal system. The rapist is linked with wiindigoos who are people and crave for human flesh and are necessary to be killed. Since this system weighs on the values like truth, innocence and justice, it sets up the choice made by Joe to kill Linden. The reference for this choice is explored by early quote by Joe, “And it seemed important as well that I do a meticulous job… It was almost impossible not to break off the plant before its roots could be drawn intact from their stubborn hiding place”.

The theme, Grafting and Justice has been recurring and referred throughout the story. The author weighs throughout about the right serving of justice despite failure of the judicial system. She sets out parallel stories, which seems different in the start but ultimately connects in the end and collectively pushes the story forward. One such character and story which rightfully contributes to the theme is about Cappy, who is Joe's friend and whose bullet kills Linden in the end. The arc drawn around this character could be viewed as the ultimate example of how justice is outweighed from all the other aspects seeing the death of this character in the end.

This symbolised the ultimate serving of justice as he committed murder of the perpetrator. This leaves the focus on Joe, the protagonist, who ultimately becomes a tribal judge like his father believing he could change the justice system. The quotes mentioned above represent how ultimately the arcs of the protagonist, his father, his mother, his friend and perpetrator seemed to meet somewhere down the story as witnessed in grafting process. Other aspects throughout the novel which symbolises the theme is the doll found by Joe containing cash which Linden seeks and how his mother is approached by Mayla Wolfskin who is the owner of that doll and attacked by the perpetrator along with Joe's mother. Here you can get best Assignment Help Services.

The uproot of seedlings by the protagonist and his father early in the story described how justice was another main element which will be circled around the protagonist. This is reflected as and when he seeks out justice for his mother's rape and ultimately later joins the system with hope to bring in positive change.

The thesis is circled around various characters who are some or the other way linked with each other and cross pathways multiple times throughout the story to blend in and create the arc for further plots which ultimately leads to the term Justice. The author in almost all the story refer to justice and shapes up the characters in way that they influence Joe of acting as per a traditional judicial system. His further association with the system also symbolises how he still seeks justice for other victims like his mother and how he could improve the law while being an ethical and constant part of it.


  • The Round House by Louise Endrich: Joe Coutts Character Analysis. 2019.
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