Sherman Alexie: the Blossoming of a Character
The fastest man ever to exist is Sherlock Holmes, he only needs five seconds to read a person. Still, he cannot read the journey of a person. Character development is the colours that fill paintings, which Sherman Alexie did brilliantly. The book is written in the perspective of a teenage Indian boy, Junior, living on a reservation. The story follows Junior’s adventure when he moves to a school full of white kids, Wellpinit. Alongside of his adventures, he slowly begins to change, which ultimately led to a compact, funny and inspiring book. In the novel, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian, Sherman Alexie establishes character development through anaphora, imagery and tone.
Sherman cleverly uses a special pattern of repetitive words, anaphora, to show character growth. Here, in the beginning, we can see that the anaphora’s Junior uses in his diary were all negative, self-deprecating and has a down putting tone. An example is when Junior describes himself to have “Ten more than usual. Ten more than normal. Then teeth past human”. Whereas compared to the end of the book, we can see that the anaphora Junior used portrays more of a peaceful, heart-warming and mature tone. Alexie describes, “And he hugged me. And he hugged my mother. And she had tears in her eyes. And she held my face in her hands”. Throughout the story, Junior slowly adjusts the anaphora he uses, which indicates that he develops into a more mature character. In the end, the Sherman uses anaphora to close off his adventures and to indicate a new Junior. “And the tribe of teenage boys…And the tribe beloved sons… And the tribe of boys who really missed their best friends”.
In addition to anaphora, Sherman also detailed parts of Junior’s diary with imagery to further accentuate character development. In the exposition of the book when Junior was still a normal kid on the reservation, the imagery portrayed there seemed mindless, weak-willed and lost: “My hopes and dreams floated up in a mushroom cloud”. Junior describes hopes and dreams. Which looking at it seems pleasant, until the end of the sentence. Alexie writes, “Floated up into a mushroom cloud”. A mushroom cloud has a similar appearance to the explosion of an atomic bomb, usually giving off a negative vibe. Subsequently, when junior first arrives at Wellpinit he already defines himself as different. Junior describes the students “I could see blue veins running through their skin like rivers”. This page described Junior’s first day in Wellpinit. In which he starts off with another negative imagery. Junior writes about how he sees the white kids in Wellpinit. From knowledge, we know that Junior gets discriminated for his colour. Now adding on with differentiated skin tones could further down put himself. Then moving to the end of the book Junior uses imagery differently “We played until the moon was huge and golden and perfect in the dark sky”. The book ends with Junior and his best friend Rowdy playing basketball. Where the imagery Junior describes seems picture-perfect. Unlike the previous imageries, this one expressed no doubt and worries. All in all, looking at the imagery broadly, we can see that it shifts from self-deprecating feel to a harmonious feel. The progression of the imagery Junior compose shows us how Junior slowly matures as a character.
Along with using anaphora and imagery, Alexie also used tone throughout the novel to illuminate character development. In the exposition, we can see that most of what Junior writes are self-deprecating. Alexie writes, “If you’re fourteen years old … and you’re still stuttering and lisping, then you become the biggest retard in the world”. Not only that he writes about how he suffers from brain damage. Additionally, his physical appearances make him feel insecure: “But my hands and feet were huge. And my skull was enormous” . All of this expresses a tone of failure. Another few chapters in, when Mr P gives Junior insights to what hope looks like, the tone expressed by Junior is confusion. Both Junior and his parents were hesitant about transferring to Reardan. The tone there expresses concern and uncertainty. I want to go to Reardan,”I said again it seemed as read as saying, “I want to fly to the moon’. Eventually, after making up his mind, Junior leaves for Reardan. However, he feels guilty about betraying his best friend, and his clanmates. After Junior told Rowdy, his best friend, about his situation, “he coughed and turned away from me”. Rowdy is upset about Junior leaving, perhaps even angry, “My heart broke into fourteen pieces, one for each year that Rowdy and I had been best friends”. Skipping ahead to the conclusion of the book, Sherman portrayed a happy ending. It seems hopeful and peaceful as a new and confident protagonist emerged. Bit by bit his confidence builds back up, “I would always love Rowdy. And I would always miss him, too. Just as I would always love and miss my grandmother, my big sister, and Eugene”. Love, hatred, death, feelings, elements that are all vital to a character. Alexie composed all of that into a single book. Still, the most intriguing part of the book was how he toyed with figurative language to implement the development of our protagonist, Junior. Ranging from the way he repeats phrases, to describing things in vivid details and setting a tone for the reader brought the book to a completed end. In the novel, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian, Sherman Alexie establishes characterization through anaphora, imagery and tone. Alexie offers a book full of alluring pages that will seize your thoughts and complete it.
Love, Adventure and Passion in the Work of Sherman Alexie
The love for poetry and writing can begin with the simple routine of listening to the soothing voices of parents reading a bedtime story. Unfortunately for some, such as Sherman Alexie, the sweetest routines are not a part of their everyday life while growing up. Defying the odds at a young age, Alexie survived life threatening health conditions, bullied because of his appearance and an absent father. As a boy, he was much influenced by his maternal grandmother, a spiritual leader of the Spokane, who died when he was eight. Because of his health, he was unable to compete physically, so he became instead an avid reader. Growing up around alcohol addictions, Alexie himself picked up the deadly habit, however, after he caught his big break in 1990 publishing “Hanging Loose”, he has credited his work with giving him the incentive to stop excessively drinking. Li Young Lee, born in 1957, Jakarta, Indonesia also grew up with a brash story: migrating from country to country, family imprisonment and death. Through it all, Lee was fortunate enough to have stories read to him, although his care for poetry did not begin until he attended the University of Pittsburgh. Both Sherman Alexie and Li Young Lee draw on their personal and historical experiences to write about alcohol abuse and one’s beliefs, inviting readers to know who they have come to be.
Similar to their backgrounds, both Lee and Alexie’s poetry correlate yet oppose one another. Alexie evokes sadness and resentment, yet leaves readers with the sense of respect and compassion. Involved with crime, alcohol, or drugs, Alexie’s protagonist’s struggle to survive the constant battering of their minds, bodies, and spirits by white American society and their own self-hatred and sense of powerlessness. For example, “Good Hair” is a poem about Alexie’s youth and stories strung into each strand of his long hair. As he was questioned for the reasons as to why he cut his hair, some simply asked if it was because he looked Indian, if it was because of his murdered father or if it was because of his sister’s death and her funeral. For example, “Did you cut your hair after booze murdered your father? When he was buried, did you baptize him with your braids?” Alexie was able to take a simple action such as cutting his hair and twist into a story about nativity. His works primarily cover themes like poverty, racism, and alcoholism which were common problems faced by the Native Americans.
Lee’s poems depict an eerie silence as he uses his personal experiences and memories to relive his haunting past. His poetry vividly paints his memories of the refugee experience and stories recounted by his family members. Lee’s work is also influenced by the classical Chinese poets Li Bo and Tu Fu whom he was taught to recite as a boy. Equally important is his father’s Christianity and Lee’s consequent exposure to the King James version of the Bible, Which still remains a powerful source of inspiration for him. He explores the question of individual identity in a world where people have been uprooted from their culture and have not found acceptance in their new land. Many immigrants remain silent about their past lives, and their silence adds to the confusion and loss of identity that characterize the immigrant experience. Lee faces the complex issues of displacement as he seeks to understand earlier generations of his family. Lee talked about his belief in the oneness of all things in an interview with Tina Chang for the Academy of American Poets: “If you rigorously dissect it, you realize that everything is a shape of the totality of causes. What’s another name for the totality of causes? The Cosmos. So everything is a shape of Cosmos or God. It feels like something bigger than me—that I can’t possibly fathom but am embedded in.”
The central idea in Alexie’s “Good hair”, shows his dark humor and sarcasm “Hey, Indian boy, why did you slice off your braids” is a line repeated throughout the poem. Alexie wants to know why this boy cut off his braids when they were significant to his culture. They showed the world that he was a Native American and he was proud of his hair. Throughout the poem, Alexie asks the boy several sarcastic questions about the reason why he cut his hair such as,” Did you weave your hair with your siblings’ and mother’s hair, And pray that your father grave-awakes and climbs your braids?” He simply cannot understand why the boy would do such a thing. America has taken over the lives of Native Americans, so why not keep one of the only things you can to show your heritage, your braids.
The central idea in Lee’s “Self Help” emphasizes Lee’s feelings of alienation once entering the United States. He conveys how he never felt at home in the US, that it was his ‘adopted country’. He never felt like he truly belonged and explains how even though starting over in a new country seemed like a good idea, once his family moved, the promise of a fresh start and new opportunities faded. This is a piece of work that looks back on his father’s painful imprisonment and its effect on the family.
Both poets conveyed there such pain in the poems they have written. They showed the struggles they have faced growing up, they showed the torment they’ve endured. Both Sherman Alexie and Li Young Lee draw on their personal and historical experiences to write about alcohol abuse and one’s beliefs, showing us how you can overcome abuse and neglect at a young age.
Sherman Alexie’s Personal Experience of Racism
While in high school Sherman Alexie said he “dated a white girl whose father was really racist”. The father once told her, “you shouldn’t go on the rez if you’re white because Indians have a lot of anger in their heart”. This is constantly how Alexie was treated growing up. Alexie went through hard things in his life, including a rough childhood and a disorder called hydrocephalus. But, he is still a successful and very well known “writer, performer, and filmmaker”. Alexie was born October 7, 1966 in Spokane, Washington. He went through many challenging things as a young boy through teen years. Alexie grew up with an alcoholic father and an “emotionally distant” mother who was “especially hard on Alexie”. Alexie had the worst of the worst.
In the article “Sherman Alexie” it says, “all the dark marks of reservation life were part of Alexie’s childhood.” Not only in his personal life but at school Alexie would be constantly made fun of because of the typical Indian stereotype at the school he went to. He lived with troubles and racism everyday. But, not only did Alexie go through these things daily he also lived with a disorder called hydrocephalus.Hydrocephalus is a disorder where a person has “too much fluid in the brain”. This causes many things to happen to your body and your appearance, and Alexie had to live with this everyday. Alexie experienced “seizures until the age of seven”. He also had a”stutter and a lisp” that caused him to be “an object of ridicule from other children.” His life at school definitely wasn’t the best, as he was not only Indian in an extremely racist environment but his hydrocephalus caused him to have “a large head circumference.” But, Alexie didn’t have the symptom of “slow development.” He was a genius yet was absolutely hated because of this. He said, “had my nose broken five times after school for being the smart kid.” No matter how smart or how nice Alexie was to others he never got treated well.
Alexie survived all of these horrible things as a young child and adult and now has accomplished so much.Alexie has gone to college, won many awards, written and produced many movies and books, and has done and will do so many more things in his life. He attended Gonzaga University and Washington State University where he began to study writing and write. From these colleges and degrees he has written books like “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian” and co-produced the movie “Smoke Signals” along with many other things. Both these pieces and the other ones he has done have had a huge impact on the world. He also has spoken in many places and won many awards which have also had an impact on people’s lives. Even through all his trial in his childhood and even adult he accomplished and done so many great things.No matter who it was, even if they didn’t know him, Alexie was constantly being bullied or made fun of. But, despite growing up with a hard life, poverty, racism, and living with a disorder, Alexie has been extremely successful and accomplished many things in his life. Sherman Alexie has taught the world lessons about racism, stereotypes, and much more through the things he has done and accomplished.
Journal of Flight by Sherman Alexie
Sherman Alexie a dad of two adolescents is the creator of the novel Flight. Considered a Coeur d’Alene Indian dad and a Spokane Indian mother, Sherman is an essayist of several books for all Flight. He expected to go experience a cerebrum activity at six years old quite a while since he had water in his mind. The helpful technique was eager to when there were irrelevant needs for his continuation. He endures through the development and kept on being what nobody was expecting of him. He experienced youth in Wellprint in Washington. He went to class in reservation schools and for discretionary school; he looks for better getting ready in Reardan. Sherman performs well completes at the most imperative motivation behind his social occasion, and in extracurricular exercises complete it. Exchange Sherman’s story flight is the latest of his works, and it is about kids who experience a feeling of development when they end up on the playing mechanical social gathering of a child care. The focal character in this book being Zits, a fifteen-year-old culpable social event whose father is Indian and Spanish mother. He escapes from his 21st enable home in Seattle.
First appearance of Zits in the book is in the washroom of his most recent party of brief watchmen as he takes a gander at pimples all. Here, the creator shows to us the dreadful truth of this multi year old who says he is flopping wretchedly of ninety-nine sorts of disapproval: of being 15 years and long, huge, dainty, having skin break out, and so forth. Zits changed into a vagrant at six years old after his Irish mother passed on due to compromising improvement and his Indian dad had surrendered him during work. He moves from urge home to another and from school to class and escapes from a create home at 8 years old years. Zits prop up all through adolescent remedial office in the Central District of Seattle and its here where he meets a white kid, Justice. Worth needs to mentor Zits on the most competent methodology to deal with his hopeless life. With Justice, Zits’ spirit transverses and changes in startling propensities as we see Zits in Justice’s fix to loot a bank. The plot doesn’t work out, and Zits loses his memory. He blends to acknowledge a few fascinating jobs, for instance, he expect the movement of a FBI professional who gets together with two Indian radicals where he sees that a portion of his legends are swindlers to their motivation. Later on, he goes about as a voiceless Indian youth at the edge of a depleting fight. He returns as an old, mind boggling Indian tracker utilized by the Army. Further, on, in the novel, we see Zits tolerating the action of his dad, a poor alcoholic who yields through dustbins for sustenance remains. Each new reclamation closes unequivocally when he ought to pick a fundamental choice. These recoveries do the subject in Sherman’s story flight, which is proceeding with the battle for determination, the nonappearance of dads and the rage of racial fragments. We directly take a gander at the subjects in the novel Flight. A subject in a novel can be in its name. In a name, we can see the substance of the story, which can be the subject of the novel. With respect to Flight, it is a name from the term flying which is a run of the mill thought in the book. Flying first shows when Zits ponders hustling remote planes with Edgar, his past non-constant dad. In the repeat, Zits attacks Edgar, and he winds up pounding their planes since he lost in the occasion, and Zits said it was his imperfection. The purpose of flight happens to some degree 2 when Zits looks for after for the inclinations blasting his present ephemeral dad. He says coming about to rebuking his dad he puts on his spread and flies clearly through the roof. From this, we see that flying is Zits system for managing the focusing on things for an amazing span it is a changing technique. Flight is likewise present when Zits takes up Jimmy’s body.
Flight fills in as a proper outline as Zits experiences time, space, characters and address lively. Teenagers experience certified difficulties adapting to change, and this is in Zits life from the age of fifteen. Zits are somebody who is flying start with one conventional issue then onto the accompanying. There are two or three in the novel Flight by Sherman. The subjects circuit war/control/counter, recuperation, family, and trust/having a spot. These subjects best clarification is in the lives of the characters in the novel, and we will explore them independently. The need for worry as a subject in the book the characters better does it beginning with Zets. Zets needs a suffering family all through his lifetime. The producer begins by revealing to us that Zets is a vagrant remaining in an empower home and that he has been in and out of a couple create homes in light of his defiant nature. All of Zets opposing encounters happen in light of his essential for idea, love and a solid family. This starts from the propensity that nobody really pays phenomenal character to him including his non-interminable families. In the spreading out story, he generally considers the mother, whom he says is the rule individual who loved him. Meeting his amigo Justice gives him accept that somebody has an energy for his life. Each body change shows Zits something new about himself and the depiction of adoration. All through the novel, Zits discusses the hardships he experiences in the adolescent consideration framework and his system for assurance. Later on in article, Zits understands that his present ephemeral family considers him, and he disengages. This nonappearance of solid family and love acknowledge meagerness and surrendered. He comes up short on a character, and this broadly impacts his psychological thriving. Zits utilize a wild street looking for his character and this can understand implosion. It is fundamental in the life of lively ones to have a raised level of mental prosperity. At the point where Zits depicts the body of his dad, he at long last gets his character as he winds up saying: I am my dad! From the beginning, he is sure that he is Irish and Native American, at any rate he doesn’t survey any encounters that are in a situation to both of the two. This powerlessness about his character begins from nonappearance of adolescent bringing up in his life: his mom kicked the bucket when he was six while his dad left him when he is envisioned. Furthermore, the probability that he is a create youth disappoints him considerably more. Besides in the book is the subject of viciousness. Two or three savage acts occur in Zits life as a pre-adult one of them being the bombed lead of his dad. Nonattendance of adolescent bringing shapes Zits up in to a criminal for most by far of the novel. He is in and out of the police’s capacity to the degree that they eventually chat with him in an obliging and inviting way. By then there is violence that starts from the nonattendance of adoration and cooperation.
Precisely when a kid is growing up, love and care are essential so as the immature can regard others and give moral fibbers in a youngster. Being a devoted child that he is, Zits turns his life around for the better close to the completion of the novel. Another critical point in the novel is the undeniable landscape of Native Americans. It is major to Zits certain and social setting and supposition of character that gives a line in his story. Generally couple of American understudies and understudies think about that bit of American history. The basic subject of Native American portrays the hid torment and heartless nature of the legend. Zits entire life in the story is synonymous with hopelessness and torment. Zits having an Indian dad is conveyed into the world with torment and enduring in his DNA! As exhibited by the creator, there is legacy of Native American torment that is it goes from one age to the going with in what he hints as blood memory. This is a focal subject in this book as it broadens the peruser’s comprehension of the article and maker. It besides explains the starting phase of Zits’ anguish and torment. The essential event where a peruser sees Zits blood memory issue is the point at which he is maintaining a strategic distance from cops who are getting him. He says he is doing fighting in light of how that is his wiring and programming. The producer uncovers that Zits needs to battle since ruthlessness and anguish are as a part of his character, which he can’t change. An aftereffect of Zits’ blood memory is the woeful dreams he has about butchering individuals.
Another example of family memory in Zits’ life happens when he appears as the FBI star and the other one when he winds up prepared a plane. He says that the central minute he has been on a bearer is the point at which his mom was expecting him and that he doesn’t have the foggiest idea how yet he has the impression in his DNA. As exhibited by Sherman, there is a partner with Native American legacy memory in the American history. He says that Native Americans turn out destruction with a history flooding with trouble, broken settlements, war, and perpetual beating by little pox, and Indian-despising assumptions. Also, most by a wide margin of their social requests and tongues dark as they are living on reservations and retentions. Finally, there is the purpose of correcting through conviction and comprehension. It comes a period in the story when Zits watches his own one of a kind past and after that a light goes off in his mind. He sees why he has been having savage dreams and why he thought it is his programming. It is on the grounds that his harbingers had the torment and enduring and that it never closes. His insight into the movement of tribulation enlightens him and causes him to perceive his sort. At last, we see is restless to change how he manages his resentment and torment.
General Overlook of “Ten Little Indians” Book
Ten Little Indians by Sherman Alexie tells the story of nine Spokane Indians that move from their reservation to the cities of Spokane and Seattle, Washington. With each distinctive story comes different struggles and hardships that the individuals face. All nine Indians face different personal and cultural struggles as they adjust to life in a Caucasian dominant metropolis. All of the characters are looking for something that they have lost by moving from the reservation to the city.
While all of the stories were well written and engaging, I found a few more noteworthy and relatable personally and academically. The first story begins with Corliss, a young Spokane university student. Her passion is poetry and her native family members criticize her for her love of writing. She discovers a poet named Harlan Atwater and tracks him down in Seattle.
I feel that this story is relatable to myself and to the class because we do so much of our communication through writing. Many of us never meet face-to-face so our writing is our channel of communication and leaves a lasting impression on others. Like the Native American poems, many of our communications involve high levels of emotion and honesty.
The second story is about Richard, a political lobbyist in Seattle. He played basketball most of his life and challenged a lawyer known as “Big Bill.” As the game continued, Bill showed his racism towards Richard and a fight began.
I found this story relatable for many because Richard was not the type of person to fight but turned on Big Bill when he agreed that he was racist. Richard stated that he did not regret the fight but never hit anyone after he punched Big Bill. I feel as leaders we are faced with many emotionally challenging situations where we act in a manner that is not normal for us. We have learned a lot about these situations in this class and how to handle them using emotional intelligence. I believe that this relates to the Mars mission and how the leaders must be proficient in problem solving and rationally settling disputes in a critical environment.
The third story focused on a middle-aged Spokane woman who was involved in a bombing at a diner. She is rescued by a man and confides in him. The reason I found this story important was that it highlights how many of us struggle to communicate with one another. She goes on to state that no one ever listens to her.
In this class, we have learned to open up and share stories with each other. In my group for the mentoring and coaching activity, we shared personal stories about struggles in our lives. In the beginning, all of us in the group were quite nervous about sharing our personal lives with one another. We probably would have never opened up if we had not have been assigned that activity since none of us knew each other before enrolling in the class. We have now created lasting connections and were able to receive feedback on different approaches to solving our dilemmas.
Finally, the last story I found relevant to the class was about homeless Jackson Jackson and his struggle to gain his Grandmother’s powwow regalia from a local pawnbroker. The pawnbroker tells him that he will sell it to him if he manages to get one thousand dollars in twenty-four hours. While Jackson did not get the one thousand dollars, the pawnbroker gave it to him anyways because he worked hard for it. In this class, we have been taught to step out of our comfort zone and take on new challenges. The results may not always come as we hoped but we must take the risk to reach our goals and benefit everyone involved.
All in all, this was a well written book. As someone who has Native American ancestry, I do feel that Sherman Alexie did a nice job of painting a picture of life as a Native American in areas of the country that are not diverse. While Native Americans have more of a voice than before, many still struggle to get respect from others. One line in the book that caught my eye was when the man told a Native American to go back where he came from and he responded by saying that he should go back first. He was mistaken to be of another ethnicity. This line highlighted the racism and struggle that many minorities still face today.
Above all, I really like how Alexie gave each character in the book a different struggle. Not one story was the same. I believe that they all interconnected since all struggles were relevant to Native American life. Alexie used a lot of humor in each story. The humor did get dark at times but it shed light on the struggles and made the reader think about what each character was going through. It is true that humor often masks darkness.
This book is relatable to the class in many ways. On the basis of leadership, each Native American is trying to move forward and make their way in a world full of hardships and obstacles. Good leaders are always assessing the present and looking forward to the future. They plan ahead and use different approaches to move their organization and team forward. This is not always an easy task for leaders since many internal and external obstacles can hinder their efforts. What we have learned in this class is that obstacles are normal and to learn from them. They make us think critically and often seek assistance from others.
In addition, we have learned in this class that everyone reacts and interprets situations differently. As stated in our discussion board, many of us do not handle change well. Some of us react negatively and fear what is unknown. This can negatively impact us as leaders in the future. In this book, many of the characters struggle to adjust to their new life and long for what they had back on the reservation. I feel that many of us in the class become anxious when faced with new challenges and wish to go back to the way things were before the changes took place. The personal stress activity helped us assess our stress levels and make plans for lowering them in the future.
My Impressions from True Diary of a Part-time Indian Novel
Week 5 Short Response Essay
I feel that True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is a very raw novel. Despite some of the controversial topics located within, these ideas lead to a more deep and relatable story. I feel such issues directly allow audiences to connect with the author, while also feeling that they are not alone. Certainly, this book should not be placed in elementary school, but rather intended for more mature audiences, I would suggest ages around 14 and up. If Alexie chose to sustain from topics of drugs, family issues, sex, and fowl language, many fewer people could connect with him. Authors deserve to write about experiences such as these, just as much as PG topics. These concepts certainly aid our understanding and relation to the author.
Alexie posted a short response titled “why the best kids’ books are written in blood’ to this ban, and he touched upon several important concepts. He discussed how we visited a local school and met many individuals who shared in disasters within their lives. He met with a young mother, who was told to just drop out of school when she became pregnant. She was discouraged and felt alone. Alexie mad a wonderful point when he stated: “Does Ms. Gurdon honestly believe that a sexually explicit YA novel might somehow traumatize a teen mother? Does she believe that a YA novel about murder and rape will somehow shock a teenager whose life has been damaged by murder and rape? Does she believe a dystopian novel will frighten a kid who already lives in hell?” (Sherman Alexie, page 1). In this quote he showcases that books like his do not harm young adults or given them negative examples, however, they allow them to realize they are not alone.
Throughout his novel, I felt a connection to him that I haven’t felt with an author before. Unlike most books we read, he never hides anything, whether it’s the truth about his illness, poor family, masturbation, or gambling. He would not appear to be so credible or interesting without these ideas that caused banning in my opinion. Although, no one wants to admit to it, we all masturbate. If schools are truly concerned with including such an idea in their classrooms, then they need to reconsider. I also struggle with gambling from time to time. Not many novels discuss such topics, so when I read about gambling on the reservations, I felt a deep connection. Not to mention, that gambling is a huge piece of Native America culture. Casino’s are one of the only thing given to natives after Americans took the land from them. If people want to gamble, this novel is not the thing that will bring up that hobby. Just because we read something, doesn’t make us get up and do it. If that was true, we would all be murderers, because many of us have read history accounts of just that.
One of the other reasons for banning, was the claim that he was anti-family. However, as we can see, he spoke quite fondly of his parents on numerous occasions. Junior claimed, that his parents were both hard working, however, they did not receive a blessing. They did all they could to put food on the table, even if some nights he was hungry. I feel that distance from family, is a topic very relatable to young adults, and Junior as well. During such times in our lives, we undergo many issues with our families. That simply, does not make us anti-family, rather normal teenagers. Such topics allow teens to know that they are not the only ones facing difficulties with their parents.
There are many books that do not include topics such as this, and many of which are mundane and quite a bore. Young adults will have plenty of years to read boring novels and required texts later on. However, they do not have much time to read novels that can inspire them to gain an interest in reading. And that’s exactly what this novel does. It changes the way individuals feel about reading. That is, that books do not have to be boring and irrelevant. I feel that if more young adults had access to novels they enjoyed and connected to, more would choose to read. However, this is difficult when books are being banned for irrational reasons. Alexie was a great author, who provokes a desire to read by his use of reality and connectivity. No schools should ban such masterpieces such as his.
Common Ideas in the Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian and Crossing the Wire Novels
Multicultural literature is defined in a variety of ways, some defining it broadly about various cultures, and others defining it as literature that showcases disregarded and marginalized cultures, as stated by Lynch (2011). Either way, multicultural literature is an essential part of literature as a whole, and it provides reading material that students of all cultures can relate to and learn from. As a reading specialist and educator, it is important to have an awareness of various types of quality multicultural literature that is available to use and recommend to readers. I chose to select books that highlighted specific ethnic cultures, Hispanic and Native American. I chose books on cultures that I am not extremely familiar with so that as a future reading specialist I am able to broaden my repertoire of literature.
The two books that I have chosen to evaluate the multicultural nature of, are books that I have access to at my school, as well as the students have access to. One of the books is in my personal collection. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian, is a book that I purchased, and the students are allowed to check it out of my personal library. Crossing The Wire, is a book that the school owns multiple copies of. It was once a school wide novel of choice, but it is not something that we currently read, nor have I previously read it myself. I was excited to take the opportunity to read a new book and understand why it was previously so well admonished by the school staff and students alike.
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie, is a novel for young adults that would be considered realistic fiction. This novel would best suit students of the middle school age, but due to language and content, early high school age. This book is written and narrated from a young teen boy’s perspective about living as a Native American on a Native American Reserve. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian was a popular and critical success. It was a New York Times Bestseller and the winner of the 2007 National Book Award. The narrator and main character is a boy named Spirit Arnold. It has been placed on some book ban lists due to its sometimes graphic nature, and word choice. This of course, only adds to its appeal for many young readers.
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian, is the story of an American Indian, Arnold. Arnold grew up on the Spokane Indian Reservation in Wellpinit, Washington, where he discussed the difficulties of growing up on an Indian reservation and struggling monetarily. Arnold, or his Indian name Junior Spirit, was also born with too much cerebral fluid. He has a larger than normal head, and he has dealt with being picked on and made fun of for his apparent disability. On top of being poor, his parents are also drunks. His best friend, Rowdy, also deals with poverty and many family troubles. Rowdy spends a lot of time at Arnold’s home, and he considers him more like a brother and family member, than a friend. The Indian culture is small and tight knit, and Arnold talks about how everybody knows everybody, and everyone’s business is the reservation’s business. Arnold takes out his frustrations and finds an outlet in drawing cartoons, which appear as illustrations throughout the book. It is almost as if it is a doodling diary. Through a few occurrences of fights and drama, Arnold is encouraged to never give up, and that he has talents that should be pursued. A teacher, Mr. P, tells him that he should leave the Indian reservation. He takes this advice and then transferred to the affluent white high school in the town of Reardan nearly 22 miles away. This was looked down upon in the reservation community. During the last half of the book, Arnold undergoes a series of losses: first his grandmother is hit by a drunk driver, then his dad’s best friend Eugene is shot in the face which are all alcohol-related accidents. Along with the terrible tragedy of the death of his sister Mary, who dies in a trailer fire. The only way Arnold can cope with all of the pain is by learning to embrace his joy, drawing and making lists. In the end, Rowdy accepts the fact that Arnold is a nomad and no longer just a “reservation kid.” Arnold found a way to belong to more than one tribe, and through perseverance and resilience, he is able to make a better future for himself.
My evaluation of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian, from a future reading specialist perspective is, that it is a great read for young teens, and particularly young males. They can relate to the woes of pubescent times for males, and the struggles that accompany it. It also appeals to young teens due to the swear words and graphic nature that can sometimes be displayed. The occasional drawings and pictures help to keep the reader entertained and visually stimulated. For some readers, this is a key aspect and a motivational piece of reading. This book could be considered a multicultural book because it discusses a very real culture of American Native American Indians who are living on Indian Reservations. As stated by Bucher (2016), a multicultural view on literature is necessary for helping students foster self-worth, motivation, and respect for other cultures. American Indians are a minority culture, and they are more dominate in the lower states of the United States of America. It is a culture that prides themselves on tradition and belief, and although the reservations are often poor, or lacking strong education, the people remain true to their areas. A small percentage of students are culturally American Indian; however, the culture is a rich part of American history. The culture should be something that students are more affluent in and respectful of. Bucher (2016), also says that a quality multicultural book can break down prejudices and stereotypes. In The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian, poverty and lack of education is a highlighted conflict, and also a stereotype of American Indian reservations. The character, Junior, breaks the mold and perseveres in a school in a better educated part of Washington. Junior does not fall into the category like the rest of his Indian reservation friends and family.
The novel is very accurate, mostly due to the fact that it is modeled after the life of the author, Sherman Alexie. Alexie was born on an Indian reservation and although he began this novel as a realistic fiction piece, it started to model his actual life experiences. He claims that it is almost autobiographical. The authenticity of the writing captivates young readers, but it also ensures for historically and culturally accurate portrayals of Indian reservations, as well as life as a young American Indian. In researching the authenticity of this novel, I found that the Spokane tribe of Indians are real, and they are indeed from Wellpinit, Washington. The culture in the novel is described in alignment with what the Spokane Indian Tribe website had to say about their close knit, prideful, continuing culture. Since this book is so closely aligned with a true Native American, by standards of Lynch (2011), and the multicultural evaluation criteria is met. As stated in Lynch (2011), power relationships are a part of the evaluation criteria. The relationships that dangerously unfold between Arnold and his family are real and powerful and show the culture of the reservation. As well as the powerful relationship between Rowdy, the friend, and Arnold. The real and loving friendship creates an authentic reading experience. Also in Lynch (2011), integrating culturally authentic language is a factor of evaluating multicultural literature. In The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian, Arnold uses natural American Indian religious words, and names. For example, his Indian name is Junior Spirit.
Crossing The Wire, is a book by Will Hobbs. The book is realistic fiction, and is best suited for middle school grades, or possibly a freshman in high school. The book has won many awards including; Junior Library Guild Selection, Southwest Book Award, Notable Books for a Global Society (IRA) 2007, New York Public Library Books for the Teenage, Americas Award, Commended Title, and the Heartland Award. I chose this book as a multicultural literature selection for the Hispanic and immigration content. The plot reveals a lot about a small town Mexican culture, where poverty is a very real circumstance. There are many Spanish words that could open up discussion and opportunity for learning some new words in a different language. The book also discusses the topic of immigration and how in the Mexican culture, it can be a very real situation for many who are in need of money and providing for their families.
Crossing The Wire, is about Mexican illegal immigration to the United States of America from a young teen boy’s perspective. The main character’s name is Victor Flores and he is only 15 years old when he is faced with the option and opportunity to illegally cross the United States border for a chance at a better life. Victor’s family is poor and his father has passed away. The family has a corn business in a small Mexican village, but with corn prices going so low, the business is suffering. This is now leaving him the oldest male, and the provider for his struggling family. He is faced with the decision of going to “El Norte,” or the North, meaning America, when his friend Rico has been sent money by his brother who is in America. The money was sent with the intent that Rico pays a “coyote,” or a person who smuggles people across the border. Victor decides to go with his friend to America, and he receives money from a family friend, his priest. This money only got him a bus ticket, so when he decides to jump trains, then get jobs to pay the rest of their way, and finally in the end take another bus. Along that route they are faced with many dangers, and meet many people. Through this all Victor gets caught by the border patrol, and he is escorted and surprisingly set free into the United States. He is then able to reunite with his friend, Rico. With Rico’s brother nowhere to be found, they head to Washington where they become asparagus farmers. Victor is able to make some money and sent it back to his family in need, whereas Rico misses home too much and heads back to Mexico. This story chronicles the realistic life events of what one young teen might endure all while trying to cross the American border illegally. This novel touches on some real human events, such as a need to move to America to support a family, and persevering in the face of hardships. Students are able to read this and have a personal understanding through Victor, about illegal immigration.
My evaluation as a future reading specialist is, Crossing The Wire, is that it is great for middle school students sixth through eighth grade. It would appeal to all students, both male and female who are interested in a highly action packed realistic fiction novel. This book would be exceptionally beneficial to use in conjunction with a social studies lesson on immigration, or for a Mexican American student who has personal family background in immigration. The character development is rich in this book, and we are able to feel the conflicting emotions of Victor about illegally immigrating for a better life, while leaving his family. It would be a highly motivating read for a struggling reader who is curious to learn about immigration, or is into suspenseful reading. Bucher (2016) says that quality multicultural literature has facts that naturally unfold in dialogue, action, and detail throughout the novel. This is the case for this book. In Crossing The Wire, the characters naturally use Spanish dialogue, discuss details of immigration with a coyote in natural dialogue, and show what it would be like to immigrate through action in the plot. Also in Lynch (2011), a criterion for multicultural literature evaluation is integration of culturally authentic language.
Both of these books qualify as quality multicultural literature as stated by both Lynch (2011) and Bucher (2016) evaluation criteria and selection for multicultural literature. As a future reading specialist I need to be well versed in a variety of literature both genres and culturally. I need to have respect and a repertoire of culturally rich reading material to present options to my diverse students. Motivation in reading is key, so having knowledge of many types of books will benefit me as a future reading specialist teacher.
Finding Your Identity in the Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian,
The novel “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” by Sherman Alexie describes the story of an Indian growing up on a Spokan Indian Reservation. The conflict of the story was not the fact that he got bullied by others for looking weird or that he lived in poverty along with the rest of the reservation, but the conflict was Junior trying to escape the status quo he was living in, where Indians lived on the Reservation for their entire life and then they died. The theme of the story relates to finding your identity where there is racism between two races. While Junior tries to escape the identity that white people keep putting him back in, he also has to suffer from bullying from white and Indian people in his school and his reservation. In order for Junior to find his identity and capabilities, he leaves the school in his Reservation and goes to Reardan, a white school 22 miles away.
Firstly, the main character Junior, was born a hydrocephalic which led to many health problems such as seizures, an unusually large skull, and vulnerability to brain damage. Junior is a 14 year old teenager with a very skinny and tall body with glasses that have one side bigger than the other because of eye damage he has from hydrocephalic. Junior loves playing basketball and played on his school team in the Reservation, but started playing for Reardan when he switched schools. He lives with his mother, father, grandmother and sister, but his sister leaves the Reservation to marry a man and live in Montana. After leaving to attend school in Reardan, Junior loses his friendship with his best friend Rowdy, who considers Junior a traitor for leaving to a white school. Junior realized that he needed to leave to Reardan after being told by a white teacher in the Reservation that he would be brought down and be taught to be a failure if he stayed. Junior is very courageous for making this decision, as because of this, he suffers bullying from the Indians in his Reservation for leaving, and he faces racism towards him for being the only First Nation in Reardan. In Reardan, Gordy, Penelope, and Roger become his new friends and Junior soon becomes the most popular boy in the school. Junior becomes very smart and learns the importance of reading from Gordy, and learns to be grateful from his girlfriend Penelope by going out on Halloween to trick or treat for change to give to the homeless. Although Junior was half homeless, he hides the fact that he lives in poverty from Penelope as he thinks it would result to him getting bullied again. Junior gets attacked by Indians on Halloween for going to a white people’s school, but they don’t realize Junior left for a chance to be successful and escape the hell Indians are put into on the reservation. Attacks on people for being a certain race still happen in modern times and the fact that Junior puts up with this for a better life shows bravery for trying to find his identity instead of having others give it to him.
Moreover, the theme of the novel is about Junior finding his identity and racism between Indians and white people. Although Junior thinks his world is only separated between Indians and white people, he soon realizes that the people of the world are split into two groups. “I used to think the world was broken down by tribes,’ I said. ‘By Black and White. By Indian and White. But I know this isn’t true. The world is only broken into two tribes: the people who are assholes and the people who are not.” This quote of Sherman Alexie indicates the identity of people in the world and portrays that it does not matter what race you are, but the way you behave and act in society is what decides your identity. “Life is a constant struggle between being an individual and being a member of the community.” Junior in the story is trying to deliver the message that there are people who follow society’s rules and become a member of the community, and there are people who decide their own identity by breaking the status quo. That is what Junior is struggling to do throughout the story as him going to Reardan as an Indian was something that he was not supposed to do, but by doing that, Junior manages to get a better chance at success, although he does have to suffer from much more bullying because of it. Junior losing his best and only friend before attending Reardan must have been very difficult for Junior, but that is one of the sacrifices he has had to face while going on the journey for a better life. Junior losing his grandmother, his dad’s best friend, and his sister in all tragic deaths must have been a very depressing and dark time, but he still managed to continue school in Reardan through all the struggles. Penelope, Roger, and Gordy are all examples of the opposite of what Indians on the Reservation think about white people. Indians think that white people are all cruel and rude to Indians, but Junior’s white friends are the opposite of that. Although Roger and his friends did bully Junior when he first came to Reardan, he later changed his identity and outlook on Indians when Junior fought back. Junior and all Indians on the Reservation are born and taught how white people are cruel while white people are born and taught how Indians are cruel. The way people are taught to be when they grow up does not necessarily mean that will be their identity, as Junior is proof of it.
However, before Junior went to school in Reardan, he had thrown a geometry book at his teacher to show his anger of how trapped he felt in the reservation. He threw the textbook because he had seen that it was the same textbook that his mom had used 30 years ago. The geometry book showed that Indians were being trapped in the Reservation and weren’t leaving it as Junior’s family still lived in the same Reservation that they went to school in. It showed that the government did not care for the Indians as in Reardan, Junior did not have old teared up books. Junior also felt caged when he went to Reardan with the rich white people as he was the only poor one. Junior went as a homeless man for trick or treating on Halloween to raise money to donate to charity since that was what Penelope was doing, but what she did not know was that Junior was already half homeless. His costume was his normal clothing as his good and bad clothes both looked like something a homeless person might wear. “I went dressed as a homeless dude. It was a pretty easy costume for me. There’s not much difference between my good and bad clothes, so I pretty much look half-homeless anyways.” The costume showed irony in the story as Junior did not even have to pretend he was homeless as he almost already was. The homeless costume for Junior was a way for him to hide his identity, although he was really showing his true self in his costume. The geometry book was a symbol to show that Junior may be stuck in the Reservation and be half homeless his entire life if he did not make a change. Although Junior managed to leave to a white school, he was not able to show his true identity which was him in his costume. The geometry book was the ignition to the flame of Junior’s determination to escape the world of poverty in the Reservation he was living in.
In conclusion, Junior managed to develop his own identity by escaping the Reservation he was born into, and managing to withstand the bullying of Indian and white people around him. Although Junior was born with multiple health problems, faced racism from white people, got bullied by his own culture for being considered a traitor, lived in poverty, and had to face the death of his grandmother, his dads best friend and his sister, he still managed to find his own true identity. Many signs such as the geometry book that his mom used were signs that he was being trapped and that he needed to go out and find his own identity, before other people created it for him. Although the times have changed and what Junior went through is very rare for someone in our generation, it shows that finding your own true identity becomes easy as soon as you cancel out the noise around you.
Characters Who Influenced Arnold Spirit Jr from the Novel the Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian
In The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Arnold Spirit, Jr. was fortunate to have a number of mentors and positive role models that supported him along his journey to maturity, including some of his friends, family members, and friends of family members. Some of these people included Grandmother Spirit, Roger, Gordy, and Coach They were very helpful to Arnold, a person born with too much cerebral fluid in his brain, in a harsh society filled with poverty, alcoholism, and violence.
Grandmother Spirit was a positive role model because she understood things that others sometimes could not understand, like why Arnold transferred from Wellpinit High School to Reardan. She helped him get a new friend, even in a weird way. Once, when Arnold was being bullied by Roger, a huge senior on the basketball team, Arnold punched him because it was in his rulebook of fisticuffs. Roger was surprised that Arnold punched him. That made Arnold end up being respected by Roger. Another positive role model of Grandmother Spirit was that she was that “she always approached each new experience and person the same way” (Alexie 155). Whenever Arnold’s family went to Spokane with his grandma, she would talk to anyone, even the lonely and homeless people that were talking to invisible people. According to Grandmother Spirit, the whole point of life was to meet new people. She went to lots of powwows and met lots of people, there. She loved everyone and even wanted to forgive the person who ran her over in the car crash, which eventually killed her. She was a very loving and supportive grandma.
Another positive role model of Arnold was Roger, a senior at Reardan High School, even though they met in a weird way. Roger ended up bullying him, and when Arnold retaliated, Roger was surprised and started respecting him. He even admired Arnold’s dad’s best friend, Eugene, and his cool bike as they drove by to school one morning. Also, at the Winter Formal, when, Arnold had no money, Roger was able to help cover expenses that Arnold couldn’t pay when they went out to a pancake house with Penelope, Arnold’s girlfriend. Roger was also a star on the basketball team, along with Arnold. At the end of the year, Roger gave Arnold his basketball uniform to Arnold and said, “You’re going to be a star,” to him (227).
Another huge influence on Arnold was his future friend, a book worm named Gordy. Gordy stood up for him, though he didn’t intend to when Mr. Dodge, a fake science teacher, was giving a false lecture on petrified wood and Arnold contradicted his statement. Mr. Dodge thought that petrified wood started out as wood and turned into rocks and minerals. But really, as Arnold stated, petrified wood was just replaced by them. Gordy reinforced Arnold’s statement, which lead up to them becoming good friends. Gordy taught Arnold an effective method of how to study and how to read. Gordy was the smartest person in the school. He read every book that he read three times, so that he could really understand it for its currents, history, and words. He got very excited reading books. He also told Arnold that getting work done feels good. As a result, Arnold ended up with a GPA of 3.67 in his report card. Arnold, one of the smartest students in the class became even smarter with the advice and study help from Gordy.
Another one of the Arnold’s mentors was his basketball coach. He was a good mentor because he was very supportive. He realized that Arnold was a very good shooter from the Wellpinit reservation. This translated to him being a very good shooter at Reardan High School as they were the top-ranked team in their league, going into the playoffs. He paid Arnold a compliment, saying that he was one of the best shooters on their team, and that he’d never met anyone more committed than him. He quoted former Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi, saying that “it’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game,” after a disastrous first game against Arnold’s former school and unsportsmanlike fans (148). He also spent the night with Arnold, giving him company in the lonely hospital room after Arnold suffered a concussion while playing against his former friend, Rowdy, who was now his enemy. Also, Arnold needed three stitches because a Wellpinit fan threw a quarter at Arnold’s forehead because he saw Arnold as a traitor, since he left Wellpinit for Reardan. The Welpinit fan and many other Welpinit Indians didn’t know the reason that Arnold transferred. Arnold transferred to Reardan because otherwise, he would have gotten killed. After a disastrous first game, the Reardan High School basketball team won twelve straight games, leading up to their rematch against Wellpinit. In the rematch, Arnold blocked Rowdy’s dunk and scored three points off the turnover, the opening points for Reardan, as they took a 3-0 lead. The gym went wild. The coach had helped turn Arnold into a star as he held Rowdy to only four points in the game, when in all other games, Rowdy scored in double figures. That game essentially changed Rowdy’s life too because Rowdy and Arnold became friends again.
Indeed, Arnold was fortunate to have a number of mentors and positive role models that supported him along his journey to maturity. Grandmother Spirit, Roger, Gordy, and Coach were very helpful and supportive to Arnold in a harsh society filled with poverty, alcoholism, and violence. All of these mentors supported Arnold’s goals and helped him succeed in and out of school, while adjusting to a new place.