Laughing Boy (1934) - Plot Summary Poster



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  • Laughing Boy, is a Navaho from a remote part of the reservation, while Slim Girl was raised by whites in a town and lives as a white man's mistress. They meet at a pow-wow and marry, in spite of the disapproval of Laughing Boy's family. Slim Girl tries to be a good Indian wife, but is tempted to fall back on her old ways. The novel won the Pulitzer Prize for 1929.

  • Sings Before Spears, more commonly referred to as Laughing Boy, is a young Navajo man living in the remote northern part of the Navajo territory. Lily, whose given Navajo name is Slim Girl, was raised off the reservation by white people, she who has lost most concept of traditional Navajo ways and who has gotten accustomed to the comforts of western society. She has questionable morals in cavorting with men to get those creature comforts, most of those encounters with George Hartshorne, who showers her with gifts but who she does not love. Laughing Boy and Lily meet at the Navajos' annual Great Sing Dance at T'si Lani in the Red Blue Country, Lily who hopes to immerse herself back into her native culture to once again become Slim Girl. Despite their antagonistic first encounter, Laughing Boy and Slim Girl fall in love and want to get married, against the protestations of his friends at the dance who believe she would make an unsuitable wife due to her white ways. The road to the altar is not a smooth one due to their differences. Although those differences are in part what attracts Laughing Boy to Slim Girl, it may ultimately be what tears them apart. Beyond the possibility of Laughing Boy learning about her loose white morals, Slim Girl may exacerbate the problem by returning to her white ways to further the cause of their Navajo life together.



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