King’s use of religion to portray women’s inequality


Today, the society still experiences prejudices against women, and native’s explore the faults through a combination of literature and religion. Thomas King portrays this through his witty book, Green Grass Running Water. He shows that the natives do not belittle the importance of women while Christianity does. King portrays these faults of Christianity through four old Indians and a coyote that are trying to fix up the world. The task becomes very difficult when the Christian God appears and messes everything up. Now they are confused and everything is chaotic. King shows how illogical and foreign the natives found the Christian religion; especially in its views of Women’s inequality.


In Green Grass Running Water, King uses Biblical characters to portray women’s inequality. There are four Indians Hawkeye, Lone Ranger, Ishmael, and Robinson Crusoe who represent independent women who all tell the creation of the world and belittle the biblical stories. Lone Ranger is the First Woman who represent the first nations and is the first example of women’s suppression. Everything was fine in the beginning until the Christian God (dog) got hold of the world and mixed everything up. First Woman falls from the sky into the water world and decides to make some land. GOD thinks this is acceptable but a garden would be better. “First Woman makes a garden and lives there with Ahdamn. Nobody knows where Ahdamn came from, but things like that happen you know.” (40)At first the Christian GOD doesn’t realize that there is anything wrong with First Woman being called Strong Woman. No GOD would let a woman have a name with that much power. This new GOD also does not realize the insignificant role that Ahdamn plays or the humiliation that he brings with a name like “Ahdamn”. Aside from his name, Ahdamn is a foolish man. While First Woman is busy finding something to eat, Ahdamn is naming the animals. “You are a microwave oven, Ahdamn tells the Elk.” (41) King portrays Ahdamn as a weak, pathetic man so that one will see the faults of Christianity. Everything is fine until the First Woman comes across the forbidden tree. Unfortunately, GOD doesn’t want anybody eating his food and so his Christian rules are made and the women are suppressed. It shows how the Christian rules have been biased towards women and that the Indians treat men and women equally, sometimes giving women the power over men.


King uses the example of Noah’s ark to show the reasons why the natives’ reject the Christain rules and to show the woman’s dominance over another Biblical figure - Noah.. While, Lone Ranger is First woman, Ishmael (another Biblical character) is the Changing Woman who represent a change in the Natives’ existence. In this situation, Changing Woman falls from the sky directly into Noah’s ark which is replete with poop


“Who are you? Says the little man.


I’m Changing Woman, says Changing Woman


Any relation to Eve?says the little man. She sinned, you know. That’s why I’m in a canoe full of animals. That’s why I’m in a canoe full of poop.”


Noah, “the little man”, is blaming Eve for the fall of man. This attitude is deeply rooted in the Bible, assigning more blame for sin to Eve than to Adam. Noah mistakenly believes that the Changing Woman is his new wife and he attempts to intimidate her with the first rule of the Ark – “Thou Shalt Have Big Breasts” (162) This Christian world is not safe for Changing Woman but she is not frightened. She knows that she as an Indian woman does not have to submit to these Christian demands. “We’ve got to get rid of these rules” she says (162). For the next month, Noah chases Changing Woman but he is unable to catch her. This is another example of a pathetic male figure. First, it was Ahdamn with his foolishness in naming animals and his degrading name, and now it is Noah who is unable to dominate over Changing Woman. Noah’s description is of “the little man” (160). When the ark finally reaches the island, Noah continues to chase changing Woman until he is exhausted and frustrated. He angers and says, “This is a Christian ship. I am a