Waterlily Summary & Study Guide

This Study Guide consists of approximately 35 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Waterlily.
This section contains 589 words
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Waterlily Summary & Study Guide Description

Waterlily Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion and a Free Quiz on Waterlily by Ella Cara Deloria.

This is a novel about the lives and customs of the Dakota women told from the perspective a young girl named Waterlily. The reader follows Waterlily through her journey from infancy to adulthood, through her joys and heartaches, until she ultimately finds true love.

Blue Bird and her grandmother end up with a group of Indians after their family is attacked and killed, leaving Blue Bird and her grandmother alone. Luckily, the two women are taken in by a passing camp circle, with which they lived with for four years. In this time, Blue Bird marries one of the young men, Star Elk, and becomes pregnant with Waterlily. Star Elk is not a good husband to Blue Bird, and shortly after Waterlily is born, Star Elk publicly throws Blue Bird away. The people of the camp circle know that Star Elk has no reason to do this, and Star Elk is so shamed by his own behavior that he leaves the camp circle, never to be heard from again. Soon after this, Blue Bird's people find her and bring her and her grandmother and new daughter back to their own camp circle.

Soon after Blue Bird and Waterlily are back with their own camp circle, Blue Bird meets Rainbow, and the two are married. Waterlily's new grandmother, Gloku, loves her very much, and treats Waterlily just like one of her own grandchildren.

Rainbow takes his family to visit his friend, Palani. There is a Sun Dance celebration going on at Palani's camp circle when Rainbow and his family get there, and Waterlily and her cousin, Prairie Flower, get to participate in the festivities. While at the festival, Waterlily sees a young boy who is part of a ceremony where he dances and prays. The young boy has promised the Great Spirit that if he spare his father's life, he will sacrifice one hundred pieces of flesh at the festival. Waterlily is so touched by the boy's sacrifice that she tries to bring him some water, which is forbidden. When he refuses the water, Waterlily runs away. Waterlily and her family leave the festival without ever seeing the young boy again.

Soon after returning to their own camp circle, Waterlily's grandmother, Gloku, dies. Waterlily's uncle has two very beautiful and strong American horses he is saving to give as gifts in Gloku's name, but the horses are stolen. Waterlily is asked by a boy she has never met or even seen to be his wife. The boy's family is going to give Waterlily's family two horses in exchange for her marrying the boy. Waterlily agrees to the marriage because she loves her grandmother so much and wants her uncle to be able to have the horses to give as gifts.

When Waterlily marries the young man, Sacred Horse, she moves away from her people to live with his family. She is very homesick for her family and unsure of how to act around her new husband, but before she can become comfortable with him, the camp circle is infected with smallpox and Waterlily's new husband dies. By the time Waterlily returns to her own family, she learns she is pregnant with Sacred Horse's child. One of Sacred Horse's relatives tells Waterlily he will send one of Sacred Horse's cousins to Waterlily's camp circle to be her husband and to help raise Sacred Horse's child. Waterlily is very surprised when the cousin of Sacred Horse turns out to be the boy from the Sun Dance celebration, Lowanla.

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This section contains 589 words
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