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A Yellow Raft in Blue Wateris the story of 3 women"s lives, three strands that narration that, braided together, type the narrative background of Ida"s, she daughter Christine"s, and Christine"s daughter Rayona"s lives. Split into three different yet interconnected sections, each narrated by among the female protagonists, Dorris" novel explores the perceptions and misperceptions that specify each woman"s search for self-identity.

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If said in a straight fashion, Dorris" message would read something favor the following. Ida, a young Indian girl elevated on a Montana reservation, faces a dilemm in her and also her family"s life as soon as Clara, her mother"s sister and therefore Ida"s aunt, has actually a sex-related affair through her brother-in-law, Lecon, she mother"s husband and also Ida"s father. Clara gets pregnant with Lecon"s child, and to conceal the illicit affair, Ida agrees to expropriate Clara and Lecon"s son as her own.

When the child, who is called Christine, is born, Ida assumes full responsibility for elevating it. She also gets a legit decree declaring that Christine is legally hers. 4 years after Christine"s birth, Ida has actually a quick sexual relationship with Willard pretty Dog, and she gets pregnant v his child, who she names Lee. Christine and also Lee have actually a very close sister-brother relationship, each relying on the other for emotional support. However, as young adults, Christine emotionally blackmails Lee into enlisting in the military during the Vietnam War; Lee"s ideal friend and also Christine"s rival because that Lee"s attention, Dayton, opposes Lee"s enlistment.

Christine moves from Ida"s house and the reservation to Seattle, moving from one menial project to another. She"s ravaged when she gets a letter indigenous Dayton saying that Lee is missing in action. To console herself, she goes come a bar, whereby she meets a black color soldier called Elgin. The 2 instantly hit the off and also move in together, return Elgin is far from home since of his on-base army duties. As soon as Elgin is released from the military, he and Christine start what at first appears to it is in a systematic life together. However, Christine gets pregnant, she and also Elgin obtain married, and then Elgin begins staying out late after work and also oftentimes not also coming house at night. He"s having an affair, and also Christine to know it. They both decide the their on-again, off-again relationship works better after they decision to live separately.

Christine gives birth to a baby girl, whom she names Rayona, instantly after she to learn from another letter indigenous Dayton the her brother, Lee, has been eliminated in Vietnam. Ruined by this news, she and Rayona go back to the reservation because that Lee"s funeral ceremony. She and Ida, that has always demanded the her children call her Aunt Ida, argue bitterly, as they walk while Christine was cultivation up. After Christine and also Rayona return to Seattle, Christine decides that her life is worthless, and also she determines that Rayona would have actually a better chance at delight were she come live v Aunt Ida. Christine and also Rayona again drive to Ida"s house on the reservation, whereby Christine basically abandons Rayona at Aunt Ida"s. Christine moves in v Dayton, and the two take up an visibility as "an old married couple."

Meanwhile, Rayona decides the she hates living with her grandmother, Aunt Ida, and sets out for Seattle, however not prior to a Catholic monk on the reservation, dad Tom, sexually attacks her. Rayona bring away refuge in ~ Bearpaw Lake, a park where she works as a garbage maintenance worker. In ~ Bearpaw Lake, she meets Evelyn and Sky, a married couple who take Rayona into their home and accept she for that she is, there is no asking any kind of questions. However Evelyn and also Sky at some point learn of Rayona"s previous and around her strained relationship with she mother. To your credit, they drive Rayona to a rodeo being organized close to the Montana reservation where Ida and now Christine live. In ~ the rodeo, Rayona steels herself and rides a bucking bronco, which Dayton owns.

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Following the rodeo, Rayona states goodbye to Evelyn and Sky and also goes residence with Dayton, where she again confronts her mother, Christine. Rayona and Christine eventually gain a much better understanding the each various other than they"ve ever had before, symbolized by Christine"s giving Rayona one of her favorite rings. Also, back not proclaimed explicitly by Dorris, Christine and Aunt Ida additionally gain a much better understanding of each other.