The Development of Joe
In Louise Erdrich’s novel The Round House, the character of Joe develops in many different ways. Though he rapidly matures in some instances, he also becomes more immature in others.
There are many reasons why the character of Joe matures throughout the novel. The incident with his mother getting raped was one thing that completely changed the way he views life. Before that, he wasn’t even quite sure what the word meant. After Clemence defined it for him, he started to understand exactly what happened. “Rape is forced sex. A man can force a woman to have sex. That’s what happened. It can be more violent than other times. Violently raped, I thought. I knew those words fit together. (14-15) After understanding the definition of the word, he now sees that the world more harshly than most thirteen year old boys would. I believe after this happened he started taking life a little more seriously. This point is clear when he believes Clemence is crazy to send him back to school, claiming that “nothing would go on as normal.” (14) He realizes how extreme the situation is and understands life will be different for a while.
Joe also matures through this situation by the amount of responsibility now resting on his shoulders. Geraldine is traumatized by the attack and Bazil does everything in his power to help his wife. There is no one to take care of Joe. He is now responsible to take the place of his
parents and not only care for himself, but also his needy mother. He describes how different his life is now, “The air seemed hollow in the house, stale, strangely flat. This was because in the days since we found my mother sitting in the driveway, nobody had baked, fried, cooked, or in any way prepared food.” (22) Joe is left completely on his own. Instead of focusing on normal things a thirteen year old boy should be worried about, he must figure out other things like feeding himself. The development...