C - Newspaper boy - Atmosphere of the house changed - Visit of guests.
In the story Sherman gives the reader a quick memoir of his school experience. It is packed with many subtle and not so subtle points about growing up and being schooled on an American Indian reservation. After reading the story for the first time much of the humor in it passed me by and the story came across as rather negative and bitter.
However, after reading it again I was able to pick up much of the humor such as the analogy to Dr. I am Indian, Indian I am. Such concluding remarks come at the end of each chapter and give the story a poetic tone.
The story almost reads like a hymn where the final remark at the end of each chapter acts as a sort of refrain. The concluding remarks are in some cases funny such as the one quoted above. In the eighth grade chapter, for example, he suddenly jumps from his rather funny remark to the anorexic school girl to give him her lunch because she "is just going to throw it up anyway" to the grim reality his family is facing at home in their limited choices of food and concludes the chapter with "There is more than one way to starve.
If the author had merely recounted the many negative experiences of his childhood schooling the story would likely have come across to the reader as just another pitiful tale about the bitterness and resentment of a displaced group of people against their oppressors.
By bringing some humor into the story Sherman shows that he can now see a larger picture. Through the combination of a sense of humor with the grimness and many challenges of life on an Indian reservation he transcends the bitter everyday realities of his childhood and builds a bridge between himself, his message, and the reader.
I think it safe to assume that most of his readers will not be able to relate to the story experientially because relatively few people have had actual exposure to the problems of the Indian American community or other similar communities.
Without the humor, most of his readers would likely turn away in frustration similar to the frustration the lawyer experiences about his inability to help in the plight of his scribe Bartleby: It rather proceeds from a certain hopelessness of remedying excessive and organic ill.
To a sensitive being, pity is not seldom pain. An when at last it is perceived that such pity cannot lead to effectual succor, common sense bides the soul be rid of it. The manner in which he expresses his frustrations subscribes well to the socially accepted paradigms of contemporary American society.
For example, there is an unabashed racism against white people in this story. Sherman categorically judges white people by remarks such as that in the world of white people it is always better to "through the first punch. He uses his humor on his own people as well such as in the Indian joke in the postscript.
The other part of this statement though is that Sherman plays into the now popular practice to openly discriminate against whites. If Sherman where white and used a similar categorical bashing of Indian Americans or African Americans his story would likely be received in a very negative manner and any humor would be viewed as a kind of sinister sarcasm.
There is also another, more subtle even insidiousbias against Christianity in the story. His portrayal of the teacher is very negative and he intentionally exasperates the negativity by also calling her a very ugly person.
Ugly is a "big" word and its negative connotations far exceed its dictionary definitions. It is the only instance in the story where he openly engages in a form of character assassination and this does not fit well into the overall story. The strong anti-Christian bias in this chapter will likely cost Sherman many readers and limited the audience to those who share his biases.
Alexie, This leads me to believe that Sherman does indeed foster some particular bitterness toward Christianity. Conclusion The story is both particularly sad but its humor also gives the impression that Sherman can see light at the end of the tunnel.
Its literary form of combining an account of grim reality with humor and a poetic reading experience is impressive to say the least. There is no doubt that Sherman can make his point effectively and do it in a way that will be intelligible to a wide variety of readers.
His strong biases detract greatly from the story in my opionion but perhaps they are part of why he decided to write this memoir to begin with. Sherman is a skillful and talented writer and I hope that his writing will in time contribute substantially to improving the plight of the Indian American community.
Works Cited Alexie, Sherman.
The Story and Its Writer.Published: Mon, 5 Dec Human learning in the 21st century will be as different from human learning in the 20th century as the micro-chip and neural networks are from the valve.” (Lepani,, p.
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Amelkin AP Lang 10/4/ “Indian Education” Subject: Sherman Alexie delivers an essay portraying his life from a .