There is no denying the fact that Sherman Alexie is a writer of considerable fame. A number of his literary publications have been transferred into film, which is generally a more lucrative market than books. When a writer's work of fiction is made into a movie, it generally signifies that he or she has created something of significant cultural value -- the most valuable aspect of which is its ability to generate revenue or "sales and access" (Brill de amirez, 1999). In addition to Alexie's standing with contemporary popular culture, he is renowned as a writer as well. The author has published numerous short stories and novels, and won some important literary awards. He earned the 2010 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, as well as the 2007 National Book Award for Young People's Literature for his autobiography The Absolute True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, and won the Native…… [Read More]
He believes he can regain some of it if he can buy the regalia, and when he does get the regalia, he dances into the street as if the spirit of his grandmother were within him.
Jackson is not the only example of what has happened to the Native population, for his friends are also alcoholics or delude themselves that their ship will return one day. Different tribes are represented, and it is implied that there are many Indians in Seattle, most on the local version of the Bowery, most drinking their lives away. Each of the friends Jackson meets on this day walks away and either dies or just disappears, but the impression left is that Jackson's world is getting smaller and smaller, leaving him more and more alone on the streets. There is something mystical about the regalia to him and also about the pawnshop where it is…… [Read More]
Fighting the self in Sherman Alexie's "The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven"
Sherman Alexie's short story "The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven," relates the story of the narrator, an Indian who has left his reservation, who is adrift in the white world of Seattle. The narrator feels that everywhere he goes he is regarded like a threat -- even the 7-11. This leaves him in a constant state of anger, an anger that is intensified by alcoholism and a failing relationship with a white woman. Treated as someone who is prone to violence because of his race by a prejudiced society, the narrator eventually becomes violent, in a kind of unconscious self-fulfilling prophesy. He constantly fights with his white girlfriend. "In Seattle, I broke lamps. She and I would argue and I'd break a lamp, just pick it up and throw it down. At first, she'd…… [Read More]
setting of Sherman Alexie's "hat you pawn I will redeem." The story is set amongst the community of homeless Native Americans in Seattle, ashington. The story juxtaposes images of the tribal past with images of Indians in modern times. I explore the question of how this contrast enables Jackson Jackson's redemption of grandmother's regalia to be symbolic of his people's redemption as well as his own redemption. My understanding of the story shifted as a result. Rather than focusing on how Jackson viewed his life alone, I also examined the life of the other Indians around him, many of whom like Jackson have struggled with addiction-related issues.
The hardest part of the essay was narrowing down a topic, given there is so much rich material that can be discussed in the story. Jackson has many relationships with both Indians and non-Indians. The strength of the essay is that it examines…… [Read More]
The Problem of Sherman Alexie's True Diary
hile there are several good reasons for why Sherman Alexie's book The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian should be read in schools, the honesty and lack of political correctness with which Alexie speaks about taboo subjects make it a good candidate for banning. The book is extremely provocative for any age, but in a politically correct age it is especially dangerous as it exposes youths to unconventional modes of thought and expression that challenge orthodox American values. In short, Alexie upsets the status quo that progressive thinkers, teachers, and leaders have spent more than a century protecting.
Alexie displays with absolute candor his take on how different races really perceive one another -- which in a nation that values equality is not the most sensitive way to discuss race. True, the novel exposes the reality of cultural identity and…… [Read More]
American, and what it means to be American. Two of the papers were written by Sherman Alexie. The third paper was written by Bharati Mukherjee, a Calcutta native who immigrated to the U.S. At the age of 21. The story of This is what it means to say Phoenix Arizona became the movie Smoke Signals that was made quite a few years later. The papers are narratives -- Bharati's is autobiographical and Alexie's have some autobiographical elements . The stories ask questions of belonging, in particular to a larger society that is quite different.
The stories are similar in terms of the ways that the different narrators and characters seek to find home. Bharati and her sister Mira are juxtaposed against each other in their quest to define home. They both have lived in the United States for decades, but they have different perspectives on the relationship that they wish…… [Read More]
Sister Buried in a Trunk" by Aaron Barth-Martinson evokes the loneliness of death and the fear that the living must encounter when death strikes down one they love. That is the case in Barth-Martinson's poem, as the narrator calls for Emily and begs her to come down to walk with him rather than die alone in her room.
The blank verse poem makes allusions to two famous Emily's of literature: Faulkner's Emily in "A Rose for Emily," and Emily Dickinson, the famous hermit poet, who died virtually unknown, with all of her poems under her bed unpublished. The allusion to the first Emily is made by the last line, "I shed a tear for Emily," as the narrator cries for the recluse. Allusion to Dickinson is made in the lines referring to the poems found in the trunk: "I found a trunk full / Of slanted verse / And I…… [Read More]
Frost, Hughes, Alexie
The Meaning of "Home" in Frost's "Hired Hand," Hughes' "Landlord" and Alexie's "I ill Redeem"
Robert Frost writes in "The Death of the Hired Hand," "Home is the place where, when you have to go there, / They have to take you in" (122-3). Implicit in these lines is the notion that "home" carries certain rules. "Home" is not just a place devoid of higher meaning, but an abstract idea -- a concept bound by a principle of belonging, of submitting, of caring. Just as Langston Hughes shows in "Ballad of the Landlord" (with the tension between negligent landlord and suffering tenant) or as Sherman Alexie shows in "hat You Pawn I ill Redeem" (Jackson sharing a portion of his winnings with Mary, whom he considers family -- "It's an Indian thing"), the principles of "home" are understood and upheld by those who realize its deeper meaning.…… [Read More]
Othering in Alexie and the Classroom
Othering in Alexie and classroom
Otherness describes a relationship that is imposed by dominant groups with the power to define who is undesirable or lower-status. This a power relationship where the dominant members justify their own privilege even if the power group is the minority, with a classic example in South African Apartheid where a white minority kept the wealth, power and legal decision-making status for themselves even though they were far outnumbered. Othering by males against females provides a more balanced example where domination results in different pay for equal work; different social roles and different unpaid work expectations for example.
Most often however, stigmatization takes place by dominant groups against minorities where the dominant majority designates itself the norm, and then enacts values the minority group can never share. This allows the dominant group to assign others temporary privileges, but if the…… [Read More]
Alexie, Victor, Thomas and Tonto
Alexie's experiences as a boy compare to those of Victor and Thomas each. It is as though Victor and Thomas are two alternate projections of Alexie's character: Victor represents the unhappy Indian, who is dissatisfied with the way his family and the people on the reservation conduct themselves (they drink too much); he wants to think of himself as a proud, warrior Indian. Thomas on the other hand is far more sympathetic to Victor's family and sees good points in Victor's dad. He also reminds Victor that their tribe was not a warrior tribe but rather a fishing people -- which is a humorous reminder because it completely takes the wind out of Victor's prideful sails and returns him for a moment back to earth. This is essentially the push and pull that Alexie identifies in his own self going to the movies to the…… [Read More]
Although sometimes it goes unrecognized, ethnicity or other superficial prejudices can help to determine an individual's role in a group or community. For example, in a community that is predominately white, those who are among this majority will often receive the most opportunities. Although this does not necessarily guarantee their success, those individuals in the majority will often have the first chance to fulfill the desirable roles. By contrast, individuals within the minority might commonly receive a mediocre education as well as more obstacles to have the same opportunities as other groups; sometimes these obstacles are virtually insurmountable. The feeling of unfairness and inequality can led many students who are disadvantaged to give up or drop out and their futures do not have the same probability for success. In the short story "Indian Education" by Sherman Alexie, the author tells a story in which the stereotypes that people…… [Read More]
In the third chapter of Flight, Zits describes who is perhaps "the only real friend of [his] life" as a "pretty white boy" who "doesn't even like or respect Jesus -- or Allah or Buddha or LeBron James or any other God" (Alexie 24). In what is otherwise a very poignant passage, where Zits is explaining is near-instant love for this boy he meets in jail, the mention of LeBron James in the company of various prophets/deities is a not-so-subtle cynical undercut of what could be an intensely emotional scene. It is not further referenced, and this type of occurrence doesn't appear again in this passage, but there is a sense of slight self-mocking throughout due to remarks like these.
The self-mocking is anything but slight in Moore's "How to Become a riter." The speaker opens by telling you to try to be something else, and to fail at it…… [Read More]
The scholarly heroine of the library set tale, entitled "The Search Engine," turns to books and literature, for the "huge number of books confirmed how much magic she'd been denied for most of her life, and now she hungrily wanted to read every book on every shelf. An impossible task, to be sure, Herculean in its exaggeration, but Corliss wanted to read herself to death," in a fashion that suggests this spinster has diverted her sexual desires into words and literature with a ferocious appetite. She feels ignored, so resolves not to allow books to go similarly ignored. "hat happens to the world when that many books go unread? And what happens to the unread authors of those unread books?" she wonders.
Frank Snake Church of "hat Ever Happened to Frank Snake Church," diverts his frustrated desires into basketball. Both Corliss and Church are incapable of expressing love, for a…… [Read More]
This does not only apply in the case of someone interested in Native American culture, as it can also assist someone performing business with natives, concerning that the respective individual would know the attitudes that he needs to employ in order to make the partnership as effective as possible.
Lala Guerrero's song "No Chicanos on Tv" is meant to induce strong feelings in audiences as individuals acknowledge the fact that the contemporary society straightforwardly discriminates particular groups on account of their particularities. It is difficult to determine whether it is best to laugh or to cry when hearing the lyrics, as they are intense and sarcastic at the same time. When considering the humanities in general and their connection to this song, it appears that they are also directed at changing people's perception of certain communities. The song raises public awareness concerning the gravity associated with discriminating particular groups and…… [Read More]
Individual Knowledge and Power
19th century poet Emily Dickinson is famous for her writing about the sometimes odd quality of being human, or rather the unnatural social norms that humanity has constructed. Dickinson claims that "[m]uch Sense -- the starkest Madness -- / 'Tis the Majority," meaning that most people guide their lives through typical principles of an objective common sense. Despite the best efforts of the philosophers and statesmen who have fostered Western principles of common sense throughout the centuries, people are not mathematical certainties; and while general rules are essential to the well-being of the population, individual lives cannot be dictated by a standardized social formula. True human growth and progress is a journey often taken alone, in which a person has to develop his or her own ideas of right and wrong. This short essay examines three different ways individual knowledge and power is originated, fostered, and…… [Read More]
Breaking and Entering
Main Plot Summary
In Sherman Alexie's Breaking and Entering, the protagonist accidentally kills a teenage burglar in his home. He had meant only to protect himself and he reacted mainly as a reflex when the burglar ran toward him intending to make it past him to escape from the crime scene. Unfortunately, the single swing with his son's Little League baseball bat turned out to be a fatal blow even though that was hardly the intention. The author assumes, probably correctly, that the police treated the investigation as completely routine at least partly because the burglar was black. The African-American community in the neighborhood, including the family of the dead burglar, rallied to support his family and to protest his killing by a white man. Ironically, the homeowner was not actually white but Native American and, therefore, of a racial heritage whose people had also suffered tremendously…… [Read More]
Smoke Signals" directed by Chris Eyre
eleased on video in June 1999 by Miramax films, Smoke Signals is the first full-length film that has been performed and directed by the American Indians. Smoke Signals is "from top to bottom, an American Indian production, and that makes it historically unprecedented" (Ward Churchill). Adam Beach and Evan Adams play the roles of Victor Joseph and Thomas Builds-the-Fire respectively. They are Coeur d'Alene Indians and the movie opens in Idaho on the fourth of July 1976. Thomas' parents who were alcoholics die in a fire and Arnold Joseph, played by Gary Farmer, the stepfather of Victor, saves Thomas. Arnold Joseph is seen to have a drinking problem and is eventually thrown out of the house by his wife. Arnold, leaving his son behind, goes off to live in Phoenix. After a long period of no contact with him, Victor finds out that his…… [Read More]
Black Elk utilizes his visions to create understanding of nearly all things he is later exposed to. The discussion in closing will further illuminate his utilization of vision, to ask for help for his people in a time of crisis.
To discuss the vertical model of artistic communication it is difficult to narrow the filed to just one example, as Native American literature, and to a lesser degree film have become somewhat prolific as genres. Two authors who build upon this tradition are Scott Momaday and Alexie Sherman as they are significant and prolific writers of Indian tradition. Each has written and published several works, including a variety of genres, that all attempt to translate the oral traditions of their nations into a written form that contains the expression of the oral tradition.
In Alexie Sherman's collection of short stories, the Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven he offers…… [Read More]
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.…… [Read More]
House Made of Dawn by N.Scott Momaday - An Extension of Central Thematic Preoccupations in Sherman Alexis' 'Indian Killer'
This is a two and half page paper on two novels. 'House Made of Dawn' by N. Scott Momaday though encompasses various genre of autobiography, history, fiction, memoirs, and ethnography, this paper will strive to present an analysis of the awakening factor highlighted in the strong wordings of the author, as also depicted in the novel 'Indian Killer' by Sherman Alexis.
The awakening of the Indian literature of the Americans, more commonly known as the Red Indians, achieved its breakthrough in the writings of Momaday, in particular his first novel 'House Made of Dawn' written in 1969. House Made of Dawn also had the distinction of getting the famous Pulitzer Prize. The novel presents a detailed insight into the Native American life, through the eyes of an Indian caught between the…… [Read More]
Smoke Signals directed by Chris Eyre. Specifically it will discuss what the film is attempting to say to us.
"Smoke Signals" made history because it was the first film made by Native Americans, and acted by Native Americans. The story is really about two young men coming of age and learning to accept each other, and their past, to move ahead in life.
The textbook calls Native American history "among the most intriguing in history, that has captivated scholars for centuries" (Gibson 2). This film is a natural evolution of that history. It is natural that Native Americans would want to tell their own story on film, and this film is the culmination of Native Americans working together to tell their own story. Victor and Thomas have to come to terms with their past in order to move on with their lives in this film. That past revolves around Arnold,…… [Read More]
..There is reason for concern, therefore, when aggressive acts are presented in a humorous context in the media" (622).
Although it is intended to refer to society and its misdemeanor, satire cannot be considered to be offensive, since there is a small probability that it will produce any resentment in people. A good example of the American society giving birth to something that is funny and enjoyable, despite its satirical character, is Charlie Chaplin. In times when movies were something new to the American public, the English actor succeeded in making it addicted to him and to his movies. His merit is also largely owed to the scriptwriters and to the movie directors that invested hard work in making the respective movies. Even with his obvious success among the American public, there still are a number of critics believing that the characters played by Charlie Chaplin had been too vulgar…… [Read More]
The choice cannot be repudiated or duplicated, but one makes the choice without foreknowledge, almost as if blindly. After making the selection, the traveler in Frost's poem says, "Yet knowing how way leads on to way/I doubted if I should ever come back" (14-15). And at the end, as one continues to encounter different forks along the way, the endless paths have slim chance of ever giving the traveler a second choice. One can see this as similar to Mrs. Mallard's change. As she looks out into the future, she sees endless possibilities for choice and nothing feels like she would ever return to the determinate state of marriage.
The final two lines of "The Road Not Taken" say, "I took the one less traveled by / and that has made all the difference" (19-20). Unlike in Chopin, the traveler determines to take the path. In Chopin, the path forces…… [Read More]
As such, despite the fact that he is a likable character - certainly the "popular" type, who is good at sports, attractive, and with a good sense of humor - he also has certain flaws that are rooted in his sense of abandonment. It is clear that he never really got over his father leaving him and his mother when he was so young. He had to grow up without having any further contact with his father, and he clearly feels that as a major absence in his life.
At the same time, Thomas has had to grow up as an orphan - both of his parents died before he even got a chance to know them. This may explain why, in certain moments of the film, Thomas appears to be insensitive towards Victor on the subject of his father. As Thomas never had any strong feelings towards his own…… [Read More]
Because society compromises the value of the woman, it is allowed the life of domesticity and life. The speaker however remains forever beyond this because she chooses self-realization instead.
In Heaney's "Punishment," feminism can be seen from the male viewpoint, as it were. The corpse of a bog girl, an adulteress, educates the narrator regarding issues of gender and politics. The narrator, far from the conventional male reaction of disgust, instead becomes infatuated with her. It is as if he is the male representative of the feminist viewpoint; that women offer value and education rather than objects of sex or symbols of domesticity. The intimacy between the speakers involve no blame. Instead of man and woman, they are equals, in strong contrast with the society that would condemn them both for their actions and their association.
Academy of American Poets. A Close Reading of "I Cannot Live With You."…… [Read More]
erewolf, Harrison Bergeron, and a Continuity of Parks
hen considered together, seemingly disparate stories can sometimes actually serve to illuminate each other better than a discrete reading of any given text. ith that in mind, this essay will examine the short stories "Harrison Bergeron," "The erewolf," and "A Continuity of Parks" in conjunction with each other, specifically looking at how each story challenges the reader's assumptions with a kind of "surprise" twist at the end. In particular, the unique way in which each story reveals the reality of the situation demonstrates how different stories may accomplish the same goal using means especially relevant to that particular story, because where "Harrison Bergeron" uses the bluntness of language to shock its reader out of a reverie, "The erewolf" adapts a well-known fairy tale as a means of subverting the reader's assumptions, and "A Continuity of Parks" uses the structure of the narrative…… [Read More]
Tale as Told by another Character: Sweat - Zora Neale Hurston
The spring came along with its flare of sunny afternoons in Florida on that particulate Sunday afternoon. For a given number of women in the small village populated by the black persons would be thinking of what the family would have for supper. However, for Delia Jones, she was still in bed, thinking of her previous life when she was still young and pretty. Then the thought of her poverty and suffering stricken husband hit her mind, and the trail of cursing and lamentations flowed from her mind; and eventually found their way into verbal words oozing from her mouth like the waters of the spring streams of the Amazon. Sure, this situation was getting to the peak of the humiliation and underpinning of poverty and suffering that she could take.
Delia sat up in her bed of…… [Read More]
Fern Hill (Dylan Thomas)
The "Poetry Explications" handout from UNC states that a poetry explication is a "relatively short analysis which describes the possible meanings and relationship of the words, images, and other small units that make up a poem."
The speaker in "Fern Hill" dramatically embraces memories from his childhood days at his uncle's farm, when the world was innocent; the second part brings out the speaker's loss of innocence and transition into manhood. This explication will identify and critique Thomas' tone, imagery (including metaphors) and expressive language (as it contributes to the power of the poem). ("Fern Hill" uses 6 verse paragraphs; there are 9 lines in each paragraph.)
"Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs / About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green / the night above the dingle starry / time let me hail and climb / golden…… [Read More]