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A Yellow Raft in Blue Water by Michael Dorris-Free Study Guide-MonkeyNotes
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Lee

Lee is Christine’s younger brother. His father is Willard Pretty Dog, the one person Ida wished would fall in love with her, but it wasn’t to be. For the first few years of his life Lee is Christine’s shadow, watching her take on dares and hanging back for fear of not being good enough himself. He comes to Christine’s rescue when she gets herself stranded on the natural bridge and after that he seems to blossom. He learns some fancy fancy, which he finally performs at the powwows, and he becomes enamored with the Indian "cause" which seems like more than a fad than a true commitment. He is of major importance only because Christine wrapped so much of her life around him and because of the impact on Christine and Ida’s relationship. For himself, however, he is a flat character, manipulated into doing what his friends and family think is right regardless of how he feels himself.

Dayton

Dayton comes onto the reservation when Christine and Lee in high school. He immediately is drawn to Lee although Christine at first thinks Lee is just his way of getting to her.

Dayton is quiet, not easily ruffled, and tries to be a peacemaker, smoothing things over with Lee and later attempting to reconcile Christine and Rayona. He is not demanding and doesn’t make a lot of friends of his own. He loves Christine like a sister; he never marries, and there is some suggestion that he may be gay. Although this is not confirmed, Dayton is also later accused of inappropriate behavior toward one of his male students. He denies the charge; apparently a student didn’t get a high enough grade and made false accusations, but it ruins his teaching career.

Dayton is also generous, willing to put his own life on hold to help a friend. He is sensitive to the needs of others, a characteristic he demonstrates with Christine at Lee’s funeral.

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