[S]he lights Kent after Kent and the room fills with smoke while she kills the bottle. . . . Those nights I help her to bed.
In school they had taught her all this crap about drinking and how bad it was for you. . . . Sometimes I found myself sneaking around my own apartment like some kid, hiding a bottle of V.O. in a shoebox and dreaming up excuses to satisfy her.
These two passages, from Chapter 2 and Chapter 14 respectively, demonstrate how Dorris shows us divergent points of view on touchy issues like Christine’s substance abuse. In the first passage, told from Rayona’s point of view, Christine is clearly a drunk, out of control and dangerous to herself. When she drinks, according to Rayona, Christine becomes so incapacitated that their roles are almost reversed, and it is Rayona who is forced to make the motherly gesture of putting Christine to bed. In the second passage, however, Christine speaks with righteous indignation, as if she were only a moderate drinker unjustly accused by a paranoid mother. Ironically, the language that Christine uses in chapter 14 unconsciously mirrors the situation Rayona describes, in which Rayona is the stern mother and Christine has to sneak around the apartment “like some damn kid.” The difference between these two viewpoints is evidence of the power of subjectivity, and of how differently two people can see the same thing. The fact that they employ similar imagery, however, shows that even the most dissimilar viewpoints can be built around the same basic grains of truth.