The Struggle For Freedom In Sherman Alexe's Reservation Blues

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Ever since the American government first interfered in the Native American way of life, they have had complete control. This control was no freely given to them, but instead they forcefully took it and created a situation where the Native Americans became solely dependent on the American government simply to survive. Sherman Alexie exemplifies this dependence throughout his novel, Reservation Blues, particularly through the character of Thomas Builds-the-Fire. In his journal Thomas Builds-the-Fire writes down The Reservation’s Ten Commandments as Given by the United States of America to the Spokane Indians”, the most notable being number four: “Remember the first of each month by keeping it holy. The rest of the month you shall go hungry, but the first day of each month is a tribute to me, and you shall receive welfare checks and commodity food in exchanged for your continued dependence” (Alexie 154). When Thomas Builds-the-Fire writes down the Ten Commandments, he is, in a satirical manner, portraying the realities of the reservation. Number four is particularly striking due to its direct relation to reality. According to recent…show more content…
By stating that the Native Americans dependence on the US Government deserved a “holy” day implies that the dependency on the government should be equated with that of the Christian faith on the Bible (154). Amongst American culture Christianity was evident and holy days were practiced. Thomas Builds-the-Fire’s comparison shows that the American Government viewed their role on the level of God, as they had that much control over the Native Americans. When this analogy is combined with the horrific way that Christians have treated the Native Americans throughout history it creates a vile taste in ones mouth. These poor individuals are dependent on the hands that placed them in such a negative position. It is incredibly

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