Indian Education Sherman Alexie Summary

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Expectations often impose an inescapable reality. In the short story “Indian Education” by Sherman Alexie, Victor often struggles with Indian and American expectations during school. Alexie utilizes parallelism in the construction of each vignette, introducing a memoir of tension and concluding with a statement about Victor’s difficulties, to explore the conflict between cultures’ expectations and realities. Alexei initially uses parallelism to commence each vignette with cultural tension. In second grade, Victor undergoes a conflict with his missionary teacher, who coerced Victor into taking an advanced spelling test and cutting his braids. Through Victor’s spelling test, Alexie portrays the teacher’s desire to fail Victor, illustrating the expectation held by the white American community that natives ought to fail. Additionally, the braids symbolize the Indian culture’s expectation of appearance, while the teacher’s desire to cut them off symbolizes the white culture’s expectation. The symbol recurs in his graduation, where Victor’s “cap doesn’t fit because [Victor has] grown [his]…show more content…
When his second grade teacher calls him “indian, indian, indian,” Victor says, “Yes, I am. I am Indian. Indian, I am” (Alexei 173). The conversation portrays parallelism in that Victor’s repetition echoes the way his teacher repeats “Indian”. Alexei’s use of a capitalization change portrays Victor’s desire to identify as Indian while the white community tries to assimilate him. Similarly, Victor repeats “Doctor Victor” in the end of fourth grade, illustrating that the tension between Victor’s vocational dream and expectations reveal itself in parallel structure (Alexei 173). The parallelism encompassed in the termination of each vignette portrays Victor’s difficulty to balance expectations and
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