Loss Of Culture In Sherman Alexie's 'Indian Education'

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In Sherman Alexie’s short stories (and poems), there usually three central themes that the story rotates. In this paper, I will be exploring how he (Alexie) explores the themes losing culture, a cycle of regret, and using drugs (mainly alcohol) to escape. In Indian Education, the short story, Alexie seems to show that whenever young Victor tries to express himself through his culture, he is punished. Take the section “First Grade” for example. In first grade, Junior (the main character and narrator) says that “The little warrior in me roared to life that day..” and makes comparisons to traditional Native American warriors, such as describing the brusies on the other boy’s face as “war paint” or how Junior chants “it’s a good day to die”, which is phrase typically associated with Crazy Horse, who was a Native American chief. But he is punished for his actions, and is sent to the principal 's office. However, “Good Hair”, is the most blatantly obvious loss of culture, as it is a literal, physical loss. The…show more content…
The story itself is constant repetition, it is the same scene over and over again. Two men on the porch reminiscing on their high school days as they watch basketball players walk by. They hope that the kids will break the cycle, but they seem to lose hope every time. Even the line about the traffic light that the story is named for is repeated scene after scene. At the end of “Indian Education”, there is one key line that speaks to this never-ending cycle, that line is “_”. This directly correlates to the idea to the idea of failure, and being stuck in the same cycle as the generations before them. This can be drawn on the fact that, at his graduation, it is said that “_”. However , when the time comes, he loses hope, and turns to substance abuse just like his parents, showing the repeating cycle that continues from generation to
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