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The Victory of Geraldine Gull

TitleThe Victory of Geraldine Gull
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication1988
AuthorsClark, Joan
ISBN Number9780920953693
Author Profile: 

Geraldine Gull is an aggressive, angry, Ojibwa woman. She drinks too much and fights too much, and terrorizes other members of the reserve, with particular focus on the priest and his church. Willa, is a white art teacher who has just got a job on the reserve to teach art to the children, but Geraldine does not want another white person on the reserve and makes sure that Willa knows that she is not welcome. Willa quickly questions her position on the reserve and feels isolated from those around her, that is, until Geraldine realizes Willa could be of some use. As a younger woman, Geraldine prostituted herself in order to support her young son. Eventually, social services separated Geraldine from her son, and she did not see him for many years until one night Geraldine recognized a drunk in a bar selling artwork as her son. Geraldine spent years collecting her son’s art, and coincidentally during that time Alexander Bear’s fame grew. Now, with Willa on the reserve, Geraldine has an opportunity to use Willa’s knowledge of art to showcase her son’s work in a gallery. Amidst all of these plans, the river near the reserve is rising, and so is the threat of a flood. The town must decide whether or not to stay or move to higher ground – and Geraldine must figure out how to save her son’s gallery.


“The woman wearing the red beret breaks away from Elizabeth and comes toward Willa. She’s taller than Willa and has a broad face, crooked nose and long braids. Willa assumes the woman is going to say something friendly to greet her, perhaps wachiyi, which Dick told her means hello and good-bye. But the woman isn’t smiling. She’s scowling. Her eyes flash angrily. Too late Willa sees the anger. She cannot back up without falling into the river. The woman closes in on Willa. She lifts her hand and swings it sideways against Willa’s cheek. Slap. Hard. Willa’s glasses fly off her nose and onto the grass. The portfolio slides to the ground.
‘Go back,’ the woman says. ‘Go back where you come from. We don’t want you here.’” (24)