Windflower Essay, Research Paper


Gabrielle Roy, the author of Windflower, shows us through her main

character, Elsa Kumachuck, that isolation can have unfortunate effects on an

individual and the people around them. We, as readers, are in the beginning

given the impression that Elsa is a fit mother who is responsible and knows how

to raise her child properly. Later on though, we realize that it’s the

influence of other people in her life and the experience of isolation later on

that lead her to make the decisions that she does.

Elsa Kumachuck was at one time just a carefree teenager, going to the

theater to watch movies, laughing with her friends, and discussing sex. Her

whole life changes in one night though, when Elsa is raped by a GI soldier, and

as a result, gets pregnant. Elsa experiences a very dramatic change in herself,

both physically and emotionally, and seems to lose all interest in the things

that she used to enjoy. When her baby, Jimmy, is born however, she appears to

be herself again. She snaps out of her depression as she observes the little

boy she has given birth to. The unique little boy with blond hair and blue eyes

takes her breath away. It seemed that in giving life to her child she had

restored her own life to herself.

Although Jimmy is a joy and a blessing to Elsa, he also creates a

conflict for her. She does not know whether she should raise him as an Eskimo

like herself, or white like the father. Elsa takes advice from a lady she once

worked for, named Madame Beaulieu, the only white woman she knew. Elsa is soon

dressing Jimmy as the white do, and is keeping her hut clean and tidy. The

people from the Eskimo society are in awe at the beautiful baby with blond,

curly hair, and the ways in which Elsa is raising him. They always want to

borrow Jimmy and they even start to bathe their children as Elsa does, at the

same time every day. Elsa is proud to be the mother of the baby whom everybody

seems to want, and she tries to make decisions that are in the best interest of

her child. These decisions however, anger her mother, Winnie. Winnie believes

that Jimmy should be raised according to the ways of the Intuit only. So when

Elsa decided to go back to work for Madame Beaulieu to support her child, Winnie

breaks all of the habits that Elsa has set for Jimmy. Winnie felt it was wrong

to disipline a child or restrict him from doing certain things. Soon Jimmy gets

too attached to his grandmother and Elsa decides to take him and leave her

village and go to Old Fort Chimo.

When they arrive at their destination, Elsa and Jimmy settle in and make

a wonderful home for themselves. They never hear from anyone back home for

anumber of years until Jimmy’s father contacts them and moves in with them. He

is was a jerk before but both Elsa and Jimmy decide to give him a chance. The

two get married and have another child, a girl. And everyone lives happily for

the rest of their time.

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