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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 7

Summary

Evelyn finds Rayona at the water’s edge where she is staring out at the yellow raft. After a bit of prodding, Rayona tells Evelyn the truth about her identity, her origin, the way Father Tom left her, and her intentions. Evelyn decides that she and Sky are going to close up shop and take Rayona home. Evelyn covers for Rayona by claiming that they knew she was just "pulling their leg" all along, and that she was always leaving after a month. Upon arriving about 15 miles from Havre and the reservation, Rayona tells them to take her to Havre. There will be a big Indian rodeo in Havre and her mother would most likely be there.

The first familiar person they meet is Foxy. Rayona sends Evelyn and Sky into the stands to find seats, then tries to get more information out of her cousin. Foxy is drunk, yet still arrogant enough to think he can ride in the rodeo. When Rayona points out that he can’t possibly ride, it occurs to him to have her ride in his place. He forces his registration on her after taunting her about her mother, informing Rayona that the horse belongs to the guy Christine is "shacked up with." She tucks her hair up and takes Foxy’s jacket, but doesn’t really intend to ride until after she is accosted and challenged by Annabelle.



The ride on Babe is unlike anything Rayona could have prepared for. She is thrown off but remounts again and again until the horse is as worn out as she is. She receives a silver buckle for being the "roughest, toughest, clumsiest cowboy," and for being thrown off the same horse three times in less than a minute. On stage, Rayona reveals that she is not a boy, to the initial chagrin and finally cheers of the crowd.

Notes

Although this is a short chapter, it reveals an added dimension of Rayona's character. She does not try to get out of the falsehood she had created about parents on a romantic vacation. She is prepared take whatever blame or accusation might be coming her way and ponders how she will lash out at Evelyn, mocking her and Sky for being so gullible. Her stance in immediately on of self-defense, but Evelyn catches her completely off guard by simply saying nothing.

Although she is a minor character, Evelyn is portrayed here with a depth of compassion and understanding that Rayona certainly didn't expect. Furthermore, she has keen powers of observation and an excellent memory, for she immediately connects details of Rayona's story with those of Ellen's. Yet, in confronting Rayona, she seems to understand that the girl needs a patient listener rather than an accuser. Finally, she knows that Rayona needs to be home and unselfishly drops her own activities to actually take Rayona home rather then merely sending her there.

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