“There There” by Tommy Orange might leave a reader feeling gut wrenched. The building of the characters stories and the intertwining of characters that led to the death of the characters we’ve followed through the story, along with the not knowing what’s happened to Orvil after being shot. This causes a great deal of emotional pain.

One of the protagonists in the book is Blue, who struggled with knowing and feeling comfortable with herself, escaping an abusive relationship, finding her mother, and putting together Oakland’s powwow. The problems she faced with her identity led her to seek for Native American opportunities and in one of those opportunities, Phil hired her. Phil later became the abusive husband she would seek refuge from in Oakland.

While rebuilding her life in Oakland she began to seek her mother and found out she was a part of the Red Feather family. Blue landed a job in the committee that was a part of hosting the powwow. The problems Blue seems to have faced that brought her to the powwow are Person vs. Self. What I mean is that Blue’s desire for self discovery ended up leading her to her abuser who she fell in love with and battled, an emotional/mental battle within herself to gather the strength to leave.

This desire for bettering led her to Oakland where she landed her Job on the committee which hosted the powwow Blue would finally meet her mother, Jaquie Red Feather and find the last piece to her self discovery journey.

The issue that keep coming up while hosting this committee is the powwow getting robbed. You can see this on part 5, paragraph 51 where the novel states “A weight pulling him closer to Octavio, who’s now pointing his gun at Edwin and Blue. He’s pointing at the safe with the gun.”

The theme here is betrayal. I mean, what’s at stake in this story is the powwow which is a hope for Native Americans to get together along with the competition. Calvin Johnson betrayed Edwin and Blue by allowing this to happen despite being a part of the powwow committee. He also betrayed Octavio with Charles by shooting him along with betraying Tony by shooting at him. Tony betrayed the powwow by seemingly being there to participate and actually taking advantage.

They all participated in betraying Native Americans.

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