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A Yellow Raft in Blue Water by Michael Dorris-Free Study Guide-MonkeyNotes
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CHAPTER SUMMARY WITH NOTES

CHAPTER 16

Summary

Christine stays with Dayton, spending her days thinking about her life and trying to puzzle out her Aunt Ida. One day late in June, Ida shows up to visit her. What she really wants, however, is to tell Christine that Rayona has run away and find out if Christine might know where she could have gone. In her worry and frustration, Christine tells Dayton all about Rayona, telling the stories so many times that Dayton begins to anticipate what Rayona might do in different situations. Rayona becomes their imaginary child.

Early in July, Foxy comes over and they load up Babe, the wild mare, for the trip to the rodeo. Dayton comes home earlier than expected and has Rayona with him, bringing Christineís story to where Rayona left her own. Rayona also refuses to accept the idea that Christine is seriously ill. They argue about the lack of consideration Rayona showed by running off but from Christineís perspective itís clear the anger is out of fear and love.

Christine and Rayona set up housekeeping in Daytonís house. Ida visits one day, bringing Christineís old yearbook. For the first time that Christine can remember, Ida is actually "nice," complimenting the house and watching a TV program with them.



Toward the end of the chapter, Rayona and Christine take a trip together to retrieve Daytonís horse which had been sent away for breeding. Rayona has learned to drive a stick, and it gives her a chance to practice. The make a stop at a restaurant for breakfast, and Christine gives Rayona her silver turtle ring. In accepting the ring and putting it on, Rayona seems to be accepting the truth of her motherís physical condition as well.

Notes

This chapter emphasizes the mother/daughter theme giving us almost a mirror image similarity between Ida as surrogate mother for Christine and Christine as mother of Rayona. In both cases, it is the older woman who takes the initiative in the healing process. Ida, for the first time since Christine was born, displays her true nature rather than the hard, sarcastic front she has developed. Christine and Ida are both surprised and receptive of the new Ida.

Although the rift between Christine and Rayona was never as severe, there is still healing to take place. Christine did abandon Rayona without explanation, made no attempt to stay in contact with her, and then fought with her the first time she saw her. There is a sense that Christine began her story in the middle of the corral but has continued it over the days and weeks; furthermore, Rayona has already demonstrated that she has the maturity to understand why things happened as they did.

Christineís value system seems to have changed as well. A few months ago, she was searching for some video by which Rayona could remember her, but now she sees her jewelry-each ring significant in a different way-as something those people she loves will treasure when she is gone.

It is interesting but not surprising that Christine saves one of her rings for Elgin. He was not husband material, but the occasional passion they shared was like a rainstorm in the midst of summer heat-welcome but not expected to last long. Elgin was the only man Christine ever loved in a romantic way.

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