Firekeeper’s Daughter

Firekeeper’s Daughter

by

Angeline Boulley

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Firekeeper’s Daughter: Chapter 31 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Is Levi involved in the meth cell? Still in shock, Daunis arranges to receive emailed statements and hangs up. Then, she does the math—and it would make sense that Levi has so much money in there, now that he’s 18 and is getting $36,000 per year in per-cap payments. She’s ashamed for thinking the worst of him, just like she did with David. Still, something feels off, and she struggles to fall asleep.
Again, Daunis sees it as a sign of her burgeoning maturity that she doesn’t immediately assume that Levi is involved in the meth cell. But she’s also ignoring the fact that he changed the billing address without telling her—and, for that matter, her gut is telling her something is wrong. It’s not clear if Daunis is looking at the situation clearly or if she just thinks she is.
Themes
Love, Honesty, and Respect Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
When Daunis falls asleep, she dreams again of Travis shooting Lily. Travis points the gun at Daunis’s face and asks if Daunis is real—the Little People won’t leave him alone. At this, he slashes at the air before pointing the gun at Daunis again. Lily asks for the gun so Travis won’t hurt Daunis. She puts her hand out, but Travis says that he can’t do this without Lily and shoots her. Then, he tells Daunis that the Little People are mad at him, and he just wanted Lily to love him. She wouldn’t try his drugs, so he added them to his “cookies.” He puts the gun to his head.
The Little People are a mythical race of forest-dwelling beings that appear regularly in Anishinaabe folklore. When Travis mentions the Little People being angry at him, it suggests that his broader Anishinaabe community is angry, perhaps for his involvement with meth. His desire for Lily to love him is understandable—it’s pretty universal to want to be loved—but the way Travis goes about it, ultimately killing Lily, suggests that what he actually wanted was to control her.
Themes
Ceremony, Pride, and Healing Theme Icon
Love, Honesty, and Respect Theme Icon
When Daunis jerks awake, she realizes she’s remembering more about the night Travis shot Lily. She also recalls that Leonard Manitou has spoken about the Little People; she decides to ask him next time she sees him. Daunis becomes aware of Mom mopping outside her bedroom and talking to David in their secret language made up of French, Italian, and an invented language. Mom is saying that things would’ve been different had she told the truth. Daunis usually avoids listening when Mom talks about this, but tonight, she gets up.
It’s a sign that Daunis is maturing when she changes her behavior and, it seems, goes to Mom to comfort her. Running from or ignoring Mom when Mom was in this kind of a state previously suggests that Daunis was uncomfortable with her mom being so vulnerable around her. Now, though, Daunis is beginning to see Mom as more of a separate person, one who, like Daunis, is vulnerable and has made mistakes.
Themes
Love, Honesty, and Respect Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
Mom sobs about how she and Dad shouldn’t have gone to the island, and how he clearly got drunk because he wanted to. Mom asks why she lied and said that he was driving. Gently, Daunis says it’s because when Mom went to tell Dad about her pregnancy, she found him in bed with Dana. Daunis says Mom was 16 and afraid as she takes her mom in her arms, continuing that when Mom returned from Montreal, Dad was married to Dana and had Levi. Mom says that Dana got all the things Dad promised her. Daunis knows her dad is “The king of Guy Lies.” He lied to Mom, and he was the first man to lie to Daunis. She was seven, and she hasn’t recovered.
Prior to this, Daunis has given no indication that her dad was anything but upstanding and good. However, Daunis seems to know this story well and accept it as fact—so she knows that her parents weren’t monogamous, and that this was very traumatizing for Mom. As Daunis accepts that her dad isn’t the god she’s made him out to be, she continues to come of age. However, whatever lie Dad told Daunis when she was little is left for later, though Daunis makes it clear that the lie has caused her lasting trauma.
Themes
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
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