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“There There” By Tommy Orange

 “There There” by Tommy Orange

You will be required to read “There There” by Tommy Orange, and write a 3 – 4 page literary review of the novel, which will be submitted to Blackboard. The book will be available at the ECU bookstore and you will have from the start of the semester until the 13th week of class to read it. This is not a book report, so you won’t need to do any research. The literary review should discuss major concepts and themes from the book concerning American Indian identities. This paper should be formatted with 1” margins, written in Times New Roman font at 12 pt and double-spaced. All work handed in that does not meet the guidelines will not be considered and you will earn a zero. Please see the course schedule for due dates. All assignments must be turned in via Blackboard on the Thursday the week the assignment is due by 11:59pm or the paper will be considered late.

Writing a Literary Analysis



  • Select a topic to discuss in your analysis. Read the work you intend to analyze from which you will select a topic to analyze the text through. As opposed to writing out the plot, you are being asked to analyze the book through a topic. In a literary analysis you should look at elements of the text that include things such as characters, setting, tone, and imagery to name a few.


  • A few suggested topic areas include:
    1. Representations of American Indian identity
    2. Social and Historical Trauma
    3. Loss of tribal identity and erasure of American Indian cultures
    4. Iconography
    5. A specific tribal identity (Cheyenne and Arapahoe)
    6. Urban Indian Identities (How characters navigate modern ‘Indianness’
    7. Living away from a traditional community
    8. Storytelling as an Indigenous mode of transferring knowledge
    9. Violence and the removal of Indians (Page 9 discussion of residing in a war)
    10. Popular culture image of American Indians and how Orange presents American Indians
    11. Loneman as narrator and storyteller and what does this revel about “Urban Indianness”
    12. Graffiti Culture and reclaiming of spaces
    13. Resettling Alcatraz and visions (How does this challenge contemporary perspectives on removing American Indians)
    14. Storytelling and connections to historical memory (Opal’s mother and the function of storytelling throughout the book (consider pgs 57-59)
    15. Tension between Modernity and Tradition in the book There There
    16. Spirituality and identity in There There (Ovril and Spider legs event)
    17. City of Oakland characterized, gentrification, and Native character development in urban setting in There There
    18. How is Native femininity discussed in There There
    19. Structure of the text and shifting narrators


  • Next, collect examples of evidence from the text to support your analysis. You can also bring in outside readings to support your analysis- for example a discussion over urban American Indian identities from an NAS scholar.
  • Develop a main thesis for your paper over what your analyzing
  • Develop and organize main arguments
  • Outline the paper in terms of areas to discuss to support your main points
  • Finally, write the intro, write the body of the paper with the analysis and write the conclusion followed by revisions of the text to ensure ideas flow and are understood.