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Animal Dreams

Sheryl Stevenson reports that Barbara KingsolverÆs intention in creating Animal Dreams (1990), the story of Cosima ôCodiö Noline, was as follows: ôI wanted to write about the way that loss of memory is the loss of self, both for a culture and an individualö (327). In providing us with the account of CodiÆs homecoming to Grace, Arizona, Kingsolver reveals this process both for American culture and for Codi. In doing so, she not only shows us the impact of memories that affect Codi, including her motherÆs death as a chhld and her hidden miscarriage, but Kingsolver also shows the impact on a culture that prefers to forget child abuse, Native Americans, Nicaraguan foreign policy and destruction of the natural environment. Combined with these self and cultural memory issues, CodiÆs father Homer exhibits signs of AlzheimerÆs that serves as a metaphor for cultural and individual reluctance to remember and come to terms with painful memories. What Animal Dreams reveals in the process is that until a process of acknowledgement and closure occur that involve such memories, neither the individual nor his or her culture forms a true identity.

The narration of Animal Dreams involves CodiÆs first-person narration and her father HomerÆs third-person narration. HomerÆs third-person narration is a symbol of his inability to exist fully in the here-and-now because of his inability to remember. This serves to reinforce CodiÆs struggle to reconstruct her past memories and in so doing her own identity. Codi believed herself to be an outsider in her hometown of Grace, Arizona. Her homecoming in the mid-1980s confronts her with a father whose ability to connect with her and even himself is being undermined by AlzheimerÆs disease as well as with memories of her motherÆs death when she was three. Her reunion with her high school love, Lloyd Peregrina, half-Pueblo, half Apache, also confronts her with her knowledge of the secret pregn...

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Animal Dreams. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 15:09, April 21, 2019, from