The decision of the pilot to crush the plane in the city can have no valid motivation and is deeply painful for Jimmy who feels betrayed by his student. The pilot who decides to crash the plane is a further stereotype, an incarnation of the belief that people belonging to the same cultural space as him are most likely to engage in terrorist acts.
Throughout his transformations, Zits realizes that he has done many mistakes in the past. In fact, he interprets the negative situations in which he is cast as a sort of divine punishment for his bad behavior in the past. He feels as if the violence episodes are supposed to make him learn from his mistakes- a task which he successfully performs.
Looking at the episodes in which Zits plays the main role, the reader realizes that Alexie is actually describing the history of the American people. Regard of the period there is always a conflict. If in the past we had general Custer burn the villages of the native Americans and slaughter them in battle, the evolution of society and its morals did not make thing better. Achieving a certain social status is not a guarantee of a moral standard as well and Zits learns this as an FBI agent who helps kill radical Indian actvists. After having being the attacker for a long period of time, the American nation is portrayed at the end as being the attacked party. As the Muslim pilot crashes down in the city, there is no winner party -- as the terrorist is killed by his deed.
The first incarnation has Zits believe that he is a hero. However, his actions make him understand that he is not. From being an FBI agent whose actions are directed against the Indians Zits moves on to an Indian boy. If he failed to be a hero as an adult, he gets the chance to become one in the second incarnation. The circumstances allow him to manifest his anger and to avenge himself for both the previous episode and his real life. It is here that the main character of the novel understands that justice and revenge are not synonyms and that violence does not solve anything. The consequence of his act of violence is cruel, yet that cruelty does not solve the initial problem (the boy remains mute) and instead of improving the situation, it only brings about more pain and hate, contributing to the conflict being maintained.
It seems that finally ad an Indian tracker Zits gets the opportunity to do the right thing and he saves the ones he ought to be taking to death. Unfortunately, despite of the noble and moral character of his deed, he realizes that it is not enough. He learns that walking around with killers makes one a killer even if he does not actually perform crime. Indifference and lack of action / reaction are crimes and the boy learns a very important lesson about what justice and morality mean. Incarnating his own father, Zits gets to understand the motives for which he had abandoned him and he forgives him. This helps him cure his hatred towards his parent.
The figure of the homeless Indian with alcohol problems who abandons his son (a widespread stereotype) is a means through which the author criticizes the American society and its policies regarding the ethnic minorities (especially the first nations) underlining that violence and prejudice keeps them from integrating- which leads to further social problems. As a plane pilot Zits learns that one must have an active role in society, teaching the others what the real values are (peace, love, critical thinking, collaboration, etc.)
From an attitude dominated by hate, Zits passes to one under the sign of love and understanding. From a biased attitude towards the Native Americans, the reader passes to a perspective which understands how wrong the stereotypes regarding Native Americans are. The main character undergoes a process of profound psychological transformation. If at the beginning of the novel he is a troubled teenager who has identity issues and hates everyone after having been abandoned and abused, at the end of the book the reader sees a young man who has solved his inner issues, knows who he is and who he wants to be and is ready for a new life, led according to the newly acquired values. "This vision of his father completes the journey and brings Zits to the roots of his feelings of rage and betrayal, his emptiness, his thirst for payback and blood. And it is with something like forgiveness that he realizes that "all life is sacred." (Tepper, 25)
Alexie, S. Flight: a novel, Grove Press, Black Cat, First edition, April 17, 2007
Barbash, T. Native son in NY Times.com, May 27, 2007, Retrieved April 9, 2011 from http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/27/books/review/Barbash2-t.html?_r=1&pagewanted=print
Christie, S. Renaissance man: the tribal "schizophrenic" in Sherman Alexie's Indian Killer in American Indian culture and research Journal, UCLA American Indian studies center, volume 25, number 4, 2001
Cummins, a., Flight: a novel (by Sherman Alexie)- Time traveling boy in the Washington Post Book World, Review a Day, April 20th, 2007, Retrieved April 8, 2011 from http://www.powells.com/review/2007_04_20
Flight: a novel- a reader's guide in Grove Atlantic.com, Retrieved April 8, 2011 from http://www.groveatlantic.com/grove/bin/wc.dll-groveproc~genauth~13~5325~READERS
McFarland, R. Sherman Alexie's polemica, stories in Studies in American Indian Lityeratures, series 2, volume 9, number 4, 1997 Retrieved April 7, 2011 from https://facultystaff.richmond.edu/~rnelson/asail/SAIL2/94.pdf#page=3
Tepper, a., a boy's life, Zits and all in Village Voice Books, March 13, 2007 Retrieved April 9, 2011 from http://www.villagevoice.com/2007-03-13/books/a-boy-s-life-zits-and-all/