Wednesday, 28 December 2011

The Rez Sisters Summary

            The “Rez Sisters” was first performed as a play in 1986, written by Native North American playwright Tomson Highway. A Cree Native of Manitoba, Canada, Highway wanted to make life on the reservation (short for “Rez”) seem appealing by educating and entertaining the Canadian audience of the reality of reservation life. Highway’s goal in writing the play was to “show and celebrate what funky folk Canada's Indian people really are” (Napierkowski). The play received very high reviews including that of William Peel who in Canadian Theatre Review called them, “a striking cast of characters who reveal both blemishes and beauty” and who “possess, on the whole, great human dignity”.

            The play takes place during a summer in 1986, on the fictional Wasaychigan Hill Indian Reserve (referred to by residents as "Wasy") on Manitoulin Island, Ontario, and provides the portrait of seven “Rez sisters” who are all related by birth or marriage. The distinct personalities of each character are used to offer the audience a different attitude towards life and their role on the reservation (Napierkowski). The seven women arrange a road trip from their Indian reserve to Toronto to participate in “THE BIGGEST BINGO IN THE WORLD”; each woman dreaming of winning the bingo jackpot and what life changing fortunes it will bring them; Pelajia hoping for paved roads and their beloved Nanabush to return, Philomena a big white toilet, Marie-Adele her own island for her family, Annie Cook every one of Patsy Clines records, a new record player, and to sing with Fritz the Catz, and Veronique St. Pierre a big new stove. These characters display the natural desire to rise above their surroundings and create a better environment for their children and each other.  Although the reserve can be viewed as a place of misery, with little hope, and where there is nothing to do but “drink and screw each other’s wives”, the screenwriter uses optimism and humour in his characters and includes the positive values taught in Indian mythology. Each “Rez” sister has their own personal demons and tragedies and hopes that winning the world’s biggest bingo game will be the answer to all their problems (Napierkowski).  

The play opens with Pelaija Patchnose, a contractor, who reveals her desire to escape her distasteful life in “Wasy” and complains to her sister, Philomena that she wants to leave “Wasy” and go to Toronto, where her sons are living.  Philomena, full of gossip, helps to lift her sisters’ spirit and offers humour to the storyline; obsessed with owning a new big, wide and white toilet. It is later unveiled that Philomena conceived a child whom she never met, after having an affair with her boss, who eventually abandoned her. Both she and Pelaija remain “trapped” on the reserve.

            The varied cast of characters includes Marie-Adele Starblanket who has 14 children and is diagnosed with the onset of cancer and later expresses her true fears of dying. She optimistically believes that her husband, Eugene would carry the load and care for her children if it became necessary for her to check into a hospital, or worse, pass away.

            Annie Cook, older sister of Marie-Adele and half sister of Pelaija and Philomena, lost her husband Eugene, to her own sister Marie-Adele. Annie has unrealistic hopes of being a country singer and to someday marry Fritz the Catz, a Jewish country musician; a dream that might be easier to accept if she could sing.

            Emily Dictionary, sister of Annie, works in the local store and is a rough ex-biker who lost her lesbian lover in a tragic motorcycle accident; although previously married with a husband that abused her and almost killed her. She offers conflict between the characters.

            The “busybody” Veronique St. Pierre, sister in-law of Emily, is generally disliked and has two equal sources of distress in her life including a mentally disabled adopted daughter, Zhaboonigan Peterson and an unpredictable stove.

            The spirit of “Nanabush”, the only male character, who is also known as “The Trickster,” is a mythological spirit that observes (and sometimes enters into) the action of the play.

            Zhaboonigan Peterson, daughter of Veronique St. Pierre, is the adopted, mentally challenged daughter of Veronique that was orphaned after a car accident killed her parents. Zhaboonigan was sexually abused by two white males and carries this burden with her, while being the only character besides Marie- Adele that is able to see the spirit of Nanabush.  

            The “sisters” encounter and over come several diversions and obstacles on their way to Toronto, and the climax of the characters’ emotional personalities are heightened during the exchange of the women’s stories. The audience gets to know these women; they see their generosity and their faults through their stories, and how they treat each other. Even when the women argue and fight and gossip maliciously about each other, they also look out for one another. The bond of sisterhood transcends all racial labels and material objects (Napierkowski).

            Once the sisters reach Toronto, they play the bingo game of their lives, along with the audience. During the game, Marie-Adele Starblanket passes away; finally going with Nanabush away into the afterlife.  The women, unfortunately not winning the big jackpot, return home to “Wasy”. However, Philomena and Veronique win a portion of money, which they each use on what they dreamed of having at the beginning of the play; Philomena buying her toilet, and Veronique her stove. Veronique, with her new stove is thrilled to cook for the 14 Starblanket children and Eugene. Emily returns home to her store, but with big news; she is pregnant, which she informs Zhaboonigan of in her final scene. Annie Cook’s dream of signing back up for Fritz the Catz comes true and Pelajia returns to her contracting on the roof, as the play started, unaware that her wish of Nanabush returning to the Rez had come true. Unseen by Pelajia, Nanabush, in his guise of the seagull, joins her on the roof, dancing to the beat of her hammer, merrily and triumphantly. Although the women of the Rez return to their normal lives, and routines, largely unchanged, they return with a deeper understanding and appreciation of each other.
            As the play comes to an end, the audience learns that one of the plays themes include that home is where the heart is; and how a group of women learn to respect themselves and where they live, rather than running off to a new, unfamiliar place (Napierkowski). “This place is too much inside your blood.”

Works Cited

"The Rez Sisters: Introduction." Drama for Students. Ed. Marie Rose Napierkowski. Vol. 2. Detroit: Gale, 1998. January 2006. 28 December 2011. <>.


  1. wow, oh my this review is like a reflection of the play. So amazing. Well described and analized.

  2. May I post your summary on our website,
    I also want to print and display your summary.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Has a guy ever given you mixed signals?

    One minute he’s crazy about you and the next minute you have no clue if he ever wants to see you again?

    And it’s especially hard when there’s something special between you and you have no idea what went wrong.

    I assure you it’s nothing that you did.

    In fact, he may even care about you a great deal and still not be able to stop himself from acting this way.

    But why does this happen?

    There’s one BIG reason why men do this...

    And I discovered this eye opening video that will shed some light on this bizarre behaviour.

    Discover it here: ==> [ Why he does the bare minimum (and what to do about it) ]

    It all comes down to a missing “secret ingredient” that not one in a thousand women knows about...

    And it’s the biggest factor that determines whether a man just “likes” you...

    ...or if he sees you as “The One.”

    You see, this “secret ingredient” is so important to a man that no matter how attracted to you he is, or how strong your chemistry is...

    If it’s missing, he’ll never be able to truly give his heart to you...

    And he will always have an unshakeable urge to seek out a woman who has this one “secret ingredient.”

    Discover it here: ==> [If he’s shutting you out, here’s what’s missing... ]

    On the other hand, when you know this powerful “secret ingredient”... won’t believe how effortless, passionate and bulletproof your relationship can be.

    Trust me, this is going to blow you away.

    Discover it here: ==> [ The difference between “like” and “love” (most women miss this) ]

    [Sign off]

  5. This actually helped me so much no cap

  6. How long does a Yorkie live?
    13 – 16 years

    Are Yorkies cuddlers?
    A lover of all things comfortable, the Yorkshire terrier enjoys cuddling with loved ones and snuggling into everything soft and fluffy. And for you, their silky coat isn't too bad for petting.

    Adorable Teacup and Toy AKC Yorkie Puppies
    We have adorable Yorkshire Terrier puppies male and female (she is pictured with the bow).The little girl was born on and the male was born on. teacup yorkie for sale Both puppies have started potty training and have had all sets of puppy shots and deworming. They both come with AKC papers.The girl is very petite and has an adorable baby doll face. yorkies for sale near me She is a teacup and will mature to be around just lbs. She is very gentle and easy going She is the princess in our home and loves to be held.The male is full of spunk and is super playful He will mature to be lbs and would make an awesome family dog. He has a gorgeous silky coat and adorable teddy bear face.Both puppies are AKC registered and will come with a health guarantee shot record and sample puppy food.

    Adorable Teacup and Toy AKC Yorkie Puppies is a Female, Male Yorkshire Terrier Puppy for sale in US. Adorable Teacup and Toy AKC Yorkie Puppies by newdaypuppies for Female, Male Yorkshire Terrier Puppies. yorkie puppies for sale

  7. Do Yorkshire Terriers bite?
    Puppies bite beginning at a very young age. They learn this behavior while still with their littermates, long before you bring your Yorkie puppy into your home. yorkshire puppies for sale If the biting can be corrected while a Yorkie is still a puppy, training works best. ... This will be very similar to when a puppy yelps in pain. teacup chihuahuas for sale

    What are Teacup Yorkies?
    Teacup Yorkie is a smaller version of the same pure breed Yorkie, also known as Toy Yorkie or Micro Yorkshire Terrier. It's a tiny dog breed at about 5 to 7 inches tall, weighing between 2 to 4 pounds. The average lifespan of the Teacup Yorkie is around 12 years. yorkie terrier for sale

    Why do they cut Yorkies tails off?
    The main reason that Yorkie tails are docked are for aesthetic purposes. The natural tail is long and sticks up beyond the height of the head. A docked Yorkie has a tail that sticks straight up below the level of the head, which creates clean lines when the hair is worn at show length. yorkies puppy for sale

  8. Are Yorkies high maintenance?
    The spunky Yorkshire Terrier has a lot going for him, but his beautiful coat is high-maintenance, even if clipped short. yorkie puppy for sale near me A Yorkie with a long coat requires daily brushing and weekly baths. ... Yorkies for sale near me don't shed much compared with some other dogs, but they aren't hypoallergenic.

    Are Yorkies hard to train?
    Are Yorkies easy to train? yorkie poo for sale are not the easiest breed to train. It's not because they aren't smart; they are quite an intelligent breed. But they tend to be confident, curious, and a bit stubborn—all of which can make training more difficult.

    Are Yorkies smart?
    So, are Yorkies smart? Yorkshire Terriers are highly intelligent dogs. According to canine psychologist Stanley Coren, are “above average” intelligent dogs. yorkies puppy for sale In fact, they're ranked the 34th smartest dog breed out of 138 qualifying breeds.

  9. Do Yorkie Poos get along with cats?
    yorkies for sale
    While most Yorkies do great with cats, there are always going to be some instances where it just does not work out. Of course, it is best if you go plan for this rare but possible circumstances in which the only answer is, unfortunately, to keep them separate at all times or to find a new home for one of them. yorkie puppy for sale near me

    Do Yorkshire terriers bark a lot?
    Yorkshire Terriers are little dogs with huge personalities. With those huge personalities come a fierce territorial bark. Any time your phone rings, someone speaks or knocks on your door, or your doorbell chimes, your Yorkshire Terrier will likely bark. Outside noises aren't even required for barking for some Yorkies. yorkie for sale near me

    Are Yorkies hard to train?
    Are Yorkies easy to train? Yorkies are not the easiest breed to train. yorkie poo for sale It's not because they aren't smart; they are quite an intelligent breed. But they tend to be confident, curious, and a bit stubborn—all of which can make training more difficult. yorkie for sale

  10. Thanks a lot. Your blog made my day. If you are planning to visit of turkey. please, don't waste your time to meet any embassy specially to get a eivsa .Now you can easily apply for Turkey visa. The application process is totally online. and if you face any problem at the time of filling the application form you can also contact us.