The character of Sonja in The Round House from LitCharts | The creators of SparkNotes

The Round House

Sonja is Whitey’s long-time partner (who many people believe is his wife). A former stripper, Sonja now works at the counter of Whitey’s gas station. Sonja loves Joe and cares for him when he comes by the gas station. Sonja and Whitey’s relationship is plagued by domestic violence, which Joe experiences firsthand when he stays with them for a few days while his parents are at the hospital. Joe considers himself to be in love with Sonja, who is well known for her large breasts. After Joe finds a doll in the lake that is filled with money, Sonja helps Joe hide the money in various savings accounts, saying it will be used for his college. However, Sonja soon begins to spend the money on expensive clothes and jewelry. When Sonja shows up at Clemence’s house to give Mooshum a strip dance for his birthday, Joe blackmails Sonja by saying he will tell Whitey about the money if she does not let him stay and watch. Sonja, saddened and angered by Joe’s lack of respect for her, tells Joe about her past as a stripper, listing the many nasty things men did to her and saying that Joe is no different than the rest of them. Sonja later leaves Whitey, but then returns to him. Sonja serves as Joe’s foray into sexuality and a warning about his potential to treat women badly.

Sonja Quotes in The Round House

The The Round House quotes below are all either spoken by Sonja or refer to Sonja. 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:
Women, Bigotry, and Sexual Violence Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Harper Perennial edition of The Round House published in 2013.
Chapter 7 Quotes

We came to the tree that people call the hanging tree, a huge oak. The sun was in its branches. There were prayer flags, strips of cloth. Red, blue, green, white, the old time Anishinaabe colors of the directions, according to Randall. Some cloths were faded, some new. This was the tree where those ancestors were hanged. None of the killers ever went on trial. I could see the land of their descendants, already full of row crops.

Related Characters: Joe Coutts (speaker), Randall Lafournais, Sonja
Related Symbols: The Uprooted Trees
Page Number: 140
Explanation and Analysis:
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You don’t swear on the job, said Sonja. You’re representing something.
Okay.
We drove for a few miles. I asked what I was representing.
Reservation-based free market enterprise. People are watching us.
Who's watching us?
White people. I mean, resentful ones. You know? Like those Larks who owned Vinland. He's been here, but he’s nice to me. Like, he's not so bad.
Linden?
Yeah, that one.

Related Characters: Joe Coutts (speaker), Sonja (speaker), Linden Lark
Page Number: 141
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 8 Quotes

I won’t touch her, see? Even though some prick she's stringing along bought her diamond earrings. I won’t touch her. But she is dirty. His eyes rolled toward her, red with weeping now. Dirty. Someone else, Joe.

Related Characters: Whitey (speaker), Joe Coutts, Sonja
Page Number: 175
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 9 Quotes

You’re crying, aren’t you? Cry all you want, Joe. Lots of men cry after they do something nasty to a woman… I thought of you like my son. But you just turned into another piece a shit guy. Another gimme-gimme asshole, Joe. That’s all you are.

Related Characters: Sonja (speaker), Joe Coutts
Page Number: 222-223
Explanation and Analysis:
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Sonja Character Timeline in The Round House

The timeline below shows where the character Sonja appears in The Round House. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter Two: Lonely Among Us
Women, Bigotry, and Sexual Violence Theme Icon
Parenthood, Foster Families, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Joe rides his bike to his uncle Whitey’s gas station, where Sonja, Whitey’s wife, is working behind the counter. Sonja looks up from counting Slim Jims, sees... (full context)
Women, Bigotry, and Sexual Violence Theme Icon
Parenthood, Foster Families, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
After Sonja brings Pearl over, Joe complains to Bazil over dinner that Pearl is too old to... (full context)
Women, Bigotry, and Sexual Violence Theme Icon
...quickly stop when they remember Joe’s presence. Mooshum asks Whitey to tell him about “Red Sonja,” referring to Sonja’s old stripping persona, which clearly turns Mooshum on. Joe thinks of the... (full context)
Chapter Seven: Angel One
Women, Bigotry, and Sexual Violence Theme Icon
...gets to the gas station, he walks in with the doll hidden under his shirt. Sonja is busy with a customer, but when the customer leaves, Joe shows her the doll... (full context)
Women, Bigotry, and Sexual Violence Theme Icon
Chippewa Tradition vs. Catholicism Theme Icon
Parenthood, Foster Families, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Land, the Judicial System, and Justice Theme Icon
Sonja and Joe drive around the area together, opening several savings accounts in Joe’s name at... (full context)
Land, the Judicial System, and Justice Theme Icon
When Joe gets home from putting away the money with Sonja, Bazil and Soren Bjerke, the FBI agent on Geraldine’s case, are drinking coffee at their... (full context)
Storytelling, Formality, and Writing Theme Icon
Parenthood, Foster Families, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
...more information, but Joe, not wanting to talk about the money in order to protect Sonja, only tells them about finding a cooler full of beer, which he and his friends... (full context)
Chippewa Tradition vs. Catholicism Theme Icon
...pregnant, cranes kept flying by the window. Joe thinks about the money, and then about Sonja’s breasts, and then about his family. Joe watches a crane fly past his window, bathed... (full context)
Chapter Eight: Hide and Q
Women, Bigotry, and Sexual Violence Theme Icon
Storytelling, Formality, and Writing Theme Icon
Land, the Judicial System, and Justice Theme Icon
...to the hospital tomorrow to see Geraldine, and so Joe should stay with Whitey and Sonja. (full context)
Land, the Judicial System, and Justice Theme Icon
After Joe works at the gas station the next day, Whitey and Sonja take Joe and Pearl home with them. As they drive home, Joe asks Whitey about... (full context)
Women, Bigotry, and Sexual Violence Theme Icon
Parenthood, Foster Families, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Sonja gives Joe a pillow from her bed to sleep with, and Joe is turned on... (full context)
Women, Bigotry, and Sexual Violence Theme Icon
During one of the days that Joe is staying with Sonja and Whitey, Whitey notices at breakfast that Sonja is wearing earrings that he has never... (full context)
Women, Bigotry, and Sexual Violence Theme Icon
Sonja interrupts by walking inside the store to ring Larose up for her purchases. Outside, Joe... (full context)
Women, Bigotry, and Sexual Violence Theme Icon
When the day is over, Sonja, Whitey, and Joe all get in the car and head back to the house. Everything... (full context)
Women, Bigotry, and Sexual Violence Theme Icon
Sonja instructs Joe to go to sleep in the bed. Joe tells Sonja he knows she... (full context)
Women, Bigotry, and Sexual Violence Theme Icon
...Clemence’s, he tells Clemence that he quit his job at the station. Clemence realizes that Sonja and Whitey are fighting again. Joe helps Clemence with chores. After dinner, Joe goes into... (full context)
Chapter Nine: The Big Good-bye
Women, Bigotry, and Sexual Violence Theme Icon
...that his friends will be there soon. Mooshum falls asleep but wakes up immediately when Sonja enters the room. She is wearing a new outfit that Joe finds extremely attractive, and... (full context)
Women, Bigotry, and Sexual Violence Theme Icon
Parenthood, Foster Families, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
...where Clemence keeps it in the kitchen cabinet. Joe is reaching into the cabinet when Sonja appears at the door. Joe, thinking Sonja has been spending more of the doll money,... (full context)
Women, Bigotry, and Sexual Violence Theme Icon
Parenthood, Foster Families, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Sonja gets angry, and Joe tells Sonja that if she doesn’t let him stay, he will... (full context)
Women, Bigotry, and Sexual Violence Theme Icon
Parenthood, Foster Families, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Sonja asks angrily if she treated Joe well, and he says yes. Sonja says that she... (full context)
Women, Bigotry, and Sexual Violence Theme Icon
Joe sees one of the tassels that Sonja wore on the floor, picks it up, and puts it in his pocket. Joe, narrating... (full context)
Parenthood, Foster Families, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Land, the Judicial System, and Justice Theme Icon
Joe heads toward home, hoping to avoid Sonja, but then decides to take his bike to the hills behind the hospital, where he... (full context)
Women, Bigotry, and Sexual Violence Theme Icon
When Mooshum finishes his story, he changes the subject to Sonja. Clemence tells Joe that Sonja left Whitey yesterday while he was at the gas station,... (full context)
Chapter Ten: Skin of Evil
Women, Bigotry, and Sexual Violence Theme Icon
Land, the Judicial System, and Justice Theme Icon
...up. Afterward, he drove to Whitey’s gas station and antagonized him about the fact that Sonja, his “rich” girlfriend, left him. (full context)
Women, Bigotry, and Sexual Violence Theme Icon
Chippewa Tradition vs. Catholicism Theme Icon
Parenthood, Foster Families, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Land, the Judicial System, and Justice Theme Icon
Geraldine is confused about why Linden would call Sonja “rich.” Joe, upset, puts a pillow over his head. They lie there a while, then... (full context)
Parenthood, Foster Families, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
...a strict curfew, has to go home. He plans to use some of the money Sonja gave him to buy more ammo alone, but he needs a ride to the ammo... (full context)
Parenthood, Foster Families, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
...her a voicemail saying that he was going to become rich. Joe immediately thinks of Sonja and worries that Linden is going after her, but calms down after realizing that Sonja... (full context)
Chapter Eleven: The Child
Women, Bigotry, and Sexual Violence Theme Icon
Parenthood, Foster Families, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Land, the Judicial System, and Justice Theme Icon
...saying that there is no evidence because of the rain. Whitey then tells Joe that Sonja had called to say she was coming home, and that, after everything, he’s still in... (full context)