A Question of Blood referat

A Question of Blood

-Ernest Haycox-

Biographical Notes

Ø     Haycox was born in Oregon 1899.

Ø     He joined the National Guard in the age of 17 and takes part in the First World War.

Ø     After coming home he studied at the University of Oregon.

Ø     He wrote a lot about the Wild West, his heroes were always tough, fair and courteous to women.

Ø     Four movies are based on his novels, the best-known is "Stagecoach" with John Wayne.

Ø     Ernest Haycox died in 1950.


In 1864 Frank Isabel, a white man, settles in the isolated Yellow Hills. The nearest town can be found in a distance of 70 miles. By the time it comes to his mind that it will be impossible to find a wife in this wilderness. He decides to buy a squaw from the Crow Reservation. Although they are not able to talk to each other they come up quite well with each other. After a little while a boy is born. Earlier as Frank thinks that it would happen, other settlers arrive at the Yellow Hills. The farmers send their Indian wives back to the reservation because it would be a shame in the eyes of the others to keep them. Frank gives his wife the promise to keep her. But the times when everything was good are over. Now the conflict between the two traditions grows, Frank wants her to act like a white woman would do, but she wants to keep her Indian way of living. Frank becomes an outsider. He is afraid that his son will also become one, because he is a half - breed. He sees that his decision to keep her and the son at his house was wrong, but he keeps his words. He decides to bring up his son the white way, what causes great pain to the mother.   

Characterisation of Frank

Before settling the West he has already had a hard life. He went to the Yellow Hills because he wanted to start a new one. It is quite brave of Frank to settle alone in an Indian country. He seems to be a typical "manly" settler. He chooses an Indian wife because there is no hope to find a white one in the wilderness at this time. Her only task is to satisfy his physical needs. This show that he does not consider his wife's feelings.

The relationship between Frank and the girl

At the beginning he does not marry her because she is only an object to his lust. However, he decides to marry her when she becomes pregnant. He also starts to like her at this time. She does not see the need of marrying him, because the horse and the whiskey he paid for her count for the Indians like any ceremony. Before the other whites arrived, there have already been a few problems in their relationship: Both of them are steeped in their customs, both of them are inflexible. For Frank, it is also a problem, that they are not able to talk to each other, "he wished that she might know what was in his heat." (cf. p.63, l.20). This leads to misunderstandings and a conflict, of course.

The conflict

The situation changes when other whites arrive and all Indian women are sent back, because the men are ashamed of them. Frank becomes an outsider because of being a "squaw man". He takes her to town, because he is not ashamed of here. He also wants to show her around because she is quite pretty. But in town she behaves like a squaw and that makes him angry. He recognises his mistake, the mistake of not sending her away. He decides to bring up the boy in the white way. She can not cope with that. In the future, they still live together but they are physically and emotionally apart.

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