Winter in the Blood

Motivation and First Raise's Son

For the narrator of Winter in the Blood, by James Welch, motivation is at the root of all of his problems, from his need to leave his mother and the comfort of home, to his problems in dealing with the past, and finally to his wanting to start a life of his own. There is a sense throughout the novel that the narrator, also known as First Raise’s son, remains ambiguous because not even he knows who he is. He even says that “the distance [he] felt came not from country or people; it came from within [him]. [He] was as distant from [him]self as a hawk from the moon” (2). Throughout the novel, as First Raise’s son comes to terms with his own person, the reader also begins to learn who he is. But the common theme throughout this journey is the narrator’s lack of motivation, because he must plow through some painful memories in order to discover who First Raise’s son really is.

The narrator first runs into motivational problems with his living situation. He is a thirty-two year old man who is still living at home and being treated like an adolescent. At the beginning of the novel, there is also a hatred for his home, a place where he always wants to leave in search of something, anything, else. Even the girl that he brings home will...

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