Date of Award

Spring 1994

Document Type



Languages & Literature

First Advisor

Valerie Gager

Second Advisor

Ann Bertagnolli

Third Advisor

Robert Swartout


James Welch’s novel, The Death of Tim Loney, presents a protagonist who inspires conflicting reactions from the reader. Loney, a half-breed Native American living in Harlem, Montana, struggles to find his identity amid a society that has almost erased his roots as a Native American. The problems Loney faces as a half-breed symbolize the complications of larger issues Welch raises in his portrayal of Loney’s life. The reader journeys with Loney while he searches for himself, at times longing to help Loney through his crisis and at other times wishing Loney would disappear because of his pathetic lifestyle. In addition to the response each page evokes in the reader, The Death of Tim Loney as a complete novel raises critical issues involving Native Americans, including developing an identity, fighting a sense of helplessness, living the reality of reservation life compared to life as it is known to other people, and feeling isolated.