Years of being mistreated and living in poverty from generations to generations, engraves the harsh memories into the Indians from the early ages of childhood. Alexie provides the reader with brutal memories that Wright and Sherman, record company agents, have of the harming of the Indians: “Wright looked at Coyote Springs. He saw their Indian faces. He saw the faces of millions of Indians, beaten, scarred by smallpox and frostbite, split open by bayonets and bullets. He looked at his own white hands and saw the blood stains there” (244).
In 10 Little Indians, the poet turned extreme introvert is standoffish and rude, a product of his loneliness. A Spokane Indian who was adopted to a white family as a child, became a poet and used the name “Harlan Atwater” to sound more like a Spokane, as his white parents gave him a white name when they adopted him. His journey from childhood as an adopted son to a hermit is muddled in the book, as his story is more of a reflection of himself by himself than a profile such as the ones of Joshua Febres and Patrick Harris. Harlan Atwater was a poet and a sad man, and his journey was not a journey to be out on the water, or a journey to get away from a rough and tumble lifestyle. Atwater’s journey was simply one trying to find themselves in the midst of a life that really was not his.
He states in his text, “I was special, a former college student, a smart kid. I was one of those Indians that was supposed to make it, to rise above the rest of the reservation”. This presents credibility, tells the reader that he is educated and is not the person people expect him to be. The figurative language he uses suggests he doesn’t believe he did well. “I was supposed to rise above the rest” (57).
Each individual that is described as ‘the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes, and the ones who see things differently’ are people who don’t fit in society and those who would not likely be accepted by others but can be described as innovators. However, the ones who see things differently would be applied to Sherman Alexie, an author, poet, and Native America of the Spokane/Coeur d’Alene from the Indian Reservation in Wellpinit, WA. He experienced a misfit as a teen of racial groups and struggle of finding himself in a new world that led him to write The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, with a quote, “Life is a constant struggle between being an individual and being a member
Lyric Sinan Sinanian Mr. Rodriguez Academic Literacy 21 April 2023 The Issue of Poverty The damaging consequences of poverty are a big issue in America, and have raised in severity over the years. In the realistic fiction novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, the life of a poor Native American exhibits the terrors of poverty and how it can affect families within the poor communities in the country. The economically unfortunate have seen the worse come over them and their family.
Sherman Alexie, a Spokane Indian boy who taught himself to read by the age of three, grew up being ridiculed for his reading passion. However, since then, he has published numerous books and earned numerous awards, including the World Heavyweight Poetry Bout title in 1998. Alexie was raised with poor/middle-class standards, but was always surrounded by books, his father purchase. Alexie never let the stereotype of Indians slow him down, and refused to fail because he knew he smart, arrogant and lucky. He read every time he had an opportunity including: late at night, during recess, at lunch, after finishing class assignments, and while traveling to powwows or basketball games.
The Spokane Indian Reservation in Washington State was where Alexie first began to cultivate his love and understanding of reading. Although his parents were never able to obtain a consistently paying occupation, they were able to find an assortment of minimum wage jobs. This, by reservation standards, made his family middle class, and enabled his father to purchase numerous books that continued to fuel his love for reading. As a three year old toddler, Alexie made the defining decision to love books due to his love for his father who zealously pursued knowledge and reading.
Writer Sherman Alexie has a knack of intertwining his own problematic biographical experience with his unique stories and no more than “The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven” demonstrates that. Alexie laced a story about an Indian man living in Spokane who reflects back on his struggles in life from a previous relationship, alcoholism, racism and even the isolation he’s dealt with by living off the reservation. Alexie has the ability to use symbolism throughout his tale by associating the title’s infamy of two different ethnic characters and interlinking it with the narrator experience between trying to fit into a more society apart from his own cultural background. However, within the words themselves, Alexie has created themes that surround despair around his character however he illuminates on resilience and alcoholism throughout this tale.
Once European men stepped foot onto what is now known as North America, the lives of the Native Americans were forever changed. The Indians suffered centuries of torment and ridicule from the settlers in America. Despite the reservations made for the Natives, there are still cultural issues occurring within America. In Sherman Alexie’s, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, the tragic lives of Native Americans in modern society are depicted in a collection of short stories taking place in the Spokane Reservation in Washington state. Throughout the collection, a prominent and reoccurring melancholic theme of racism against Native Americans and their struggle to cope with such behavior from their counterpart in this modern day and age is shown.
In Superman and Me by Sherman Alexie, Alexie’s father’s love for books grew to make his self-love books ending up in Alexie teaching himself how to read. Alexie describes the stereotypes and what is expected of Indian children and how Indian children were expected to basically have no knowledge Many lived up to those expectations inside the classroom but invalidated them on the outside. While other children were doing this, Alexie’s father was one of the few Indians on the reservation who went to Catholic School on purpose and was also an devoted reader. Alexie grew up around books. His father had a strong love for books as he bought them by the pound from pawn shops, goodwill and the salvation army.
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.
The novel Reservation Blues, written by Sherman Alexie reveals different struggles encountered by the Native Americans on the Spokane Indian Reservation through the use of history, traditions, and values. Thomas Builds-the-Fire, a pureblood Indian, forms a band with his childhood acquaintances Victor Joseph and Junior Polatkin called Coyote Springs. Alexie uses a variety of scenes and personal encounters between characters and their dialogue to portray the meaning of tribal identity throughout the novel. A cultures goal is to prove their identity and be superior to one another; The American culture has achieved dominance through white hegemony while the Spokane American Indian tribe is in a battle of oppression struggling to preserve their tribal identity. Spokane Native Americans are very passionate about their tribal identities yet are envious of the power that the white hegemony holds against them, leading them to their depression.
They are trying to save their lives.” Although Sherman Alexie’s success seems as if it has only opened up doors for himself it did not, it opened up doors for other Indian kids that are still on the reservation. When Sherman Alexie wrote his books and poems the kids on the reservation read them. They gave them hope, he gave them a reason to fight for their lives the way he did. Those kids too started to write their own short stories and found the same joy in learning that Sherman Alexie did.
Being a writer of many different styles, Sherman Alexie started off as a poet before writing novels and short stories. His poetic manner continues in the story “Indian Education”. He has a wide array of dry statements mixed with metaphors and statements that are not meant to be taken literally. The trend for each years is that he starts off dry and literal and ends poetic and metaphorical. His description of his interactions with the “white girl” in seventh grade is a great example.
In his book the Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Sherman Alexie portrays a teenage boy, Arnold Spirit (junior) living in white man’s world, and he must struggle to overcome racism and stereotypes if he must achieve his dreams. In the book, Junior faces a myriad of misfortunes at his former school in ‘the rez’ (reservation), which occurs as he struggles to escape from racial and stereotypical expectations about Indians. For Junior he must weigh between accepting what is expected of him as an Indian or fight against those forces and proof his peers and teachers wrong. Therefore, from the time Junior is in school at reservation up to the time he decides to attend a neighboring school in Rearden, we see a teenager who is facing tough consequences for attempting to go against the racial stereotypes.