Fools Crow

Fools Crow


James Welch

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The White Stone Symbol Analysis

The White Stone Symbol Icon

The white stone, which first appears in Fools Crow’s dream with Skunk Bear, is symbolic of western expansion and the whitewashing of Pikuni culture. In Fools Crow’s dream, he finds himself at the bank of a river he has never seen before, where white water washes over white stones. The ground is also covered in white frost, and when Fools Crow asks Skunk Bear why everything is so white, Skunk Bear replies, “That’s the way it is now.” The white stones and frost in Fools Crow’s dream reflect the increasing presence of the white settlers on Pikuni land and their attempts to control and assimilate the native Blackfeet Indians.

The white stone is also symbolic of Kills-close-to-the-lake’s betrayal of her husband, Rides-at-the-door. Kills-close-to-the-lake lusts after Fools Crow, who is Rides-at-the-door’s son, and Skunk Bear punishes her as a reminder of her “wickedness.” In her own dream at the strange white river, Kills-close-to-the-lake is visited by Skunk Bear, who “ravishes her” before biting off her finger. He then throws the finger, which turns into a white stone when it hits the ground. Kills-close-to-the-lake picks the stone up and later gives it to Fools Crow, who rubs it and finds power in it. Ironically, Fools Crow associates the white stone with the battle song given to him by Skunk Bear during his dream by the river, and he sings this song to find courage during the vision quest he takes to save his people from the invading white settlers. That Fools Crow and his people must eventually leave their land in order to survive suggests that the stone, while indeed helping Fools Crow come to this conclusion in order to survive, still represents the erasure of Pikuni culture from their own land.       

The White Stone Quotes in Fools Crow

The Fools Crow quotes below all refer to the symbol of The White Stone. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Individual vs. the Collective Good  Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin edition of Fools Crow published in 1986.
Chapter 10 Quotes

“It is good to see you again, brother,” [Skunk Bear] said. “I have got myself caught again and there is no one around but you.”

“But why is it so white, Skunk Bear?” White Man’s Dog had to shield his eyes from the glare.

“That’s the way it is now. All the breathing things are gone—except for us. But hurry, brother, for I feel my strength slipping away.”

Related Characters: White Man’s Dog/Fools Crow (speaker), Skunk Bear (speaker)
Related Symbols: The White Stone
Page Number: 119-20
Explanation and Analysis:
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The White Stone Symbol Timeline in Fools Crow

The timeline below shows where the symbol The White Stone appears in Fools Crow. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 10
Colonialism and Western Expansion Theme Icon
...and dreams of a river he has never seen before. The water flows white over white stone s, and the ground is covered with white frost. (full context)
Dreams, Visions, and Storytelling Theme Icon
...Man’s Dog wakes in the grass. As he stands and adjusts his robes, a small white stone falls to the ground. He picks it up before joining Red Paint and the rest... (full context)
War Theme Icon
...and bit her finger off. As Skunk Bear threw her finger, it turned into a white stone . “Let this always remind you of your wickedness, sister,” Skunk Bear said. “You’re lucky... (full context)
Dreams, Visions, and Storytelling Theme Icon
War Theme Icon
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
Kills-close-to-the-lake wept uncontrollably, and then she felt “lighter.” She found the white stone that had been her finger and placed it where White Man’s Dog slept. As Kills-close-to-the-lake... (full context)