The reservations has undergone changes like battles over a dam or disputes over land bordes. Today, the Spokane Indian Reservation is approximately , acres in size. Tribal membership as of April is , strong and growing. As in the past, national resources are protected by the Spokane Indians. He was born with hydrocepahlus and underwent surgery when he was 6 years old. His father has lost both his parents at the age of 7 and later became an alcoholic who often left the house for days at a time.
When he was home and sober, he was mostly in his room. But he disappeared on drinking binges. You always knew they were coming: he was never violent, but short-tempered. It wasn't a violent house, but a violent reservation. Spending long periods in hospital, Alexie learned to read at the age of three. They called him "The Globe" because he had a large head due to the hydrocephalus. It also didn't help that he had to wear government-issued glasses. During college time Alexie started drinking but stopped it at the age of 23 when his first poetry book was accepted for publication.
The mess my father was, it broke my heart. I didn't want to break an Indian kid's heart. Nowadays Alexie lives in Seattle, Washington together with his Native American wife and his two sons. He is a famous Native American poet, autohor, screenwriter and filmmaker. His literature is very important for Native American literature courses in the United States and in the world.
His critics characterize his writing as harmful pandering to white expectations, arguing that Alexie not only avoids the moral and social obligation to educate white readers and reinstill cultural pride in Indian readers, he also works actively against such goals with his humor. For example, Louis Owens writes that Alexie's humor "deflects any 'lesson in morality'" 76 ; Gloria Bird decries Alexie's characters as "social and cultural anomalies" 49 ; and Elizabeth Cook-Lynn argues that he neglects "art as an ethical endeavor or the artist as responsible social critic" In this essay I will argue that Alexie's humor is central to a constructive social and moral purpose evident throughout his fiction but particularly in his collection of short stories, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven.
He uses humor—or his characters use humor—to reveal injustice, protect self-esteem, heal wounds, and create bonds. The function of humor changes from scene to scene, shifting to serve these myriad goals. In Indi'n Humor Kenneth Lincoln explains the many different roles of humor within Indian communities. He describes "the contrary powers of Indian humor" as "[t]he powers to heal and to hurt, to bond and to exorcize, to renew and to purge" 5. Like the legendary Trickster figure, humor in Indian communities embodies shifting meanings and serves conflicting ends.
However, rather than a sign of his "hip" [End Page 94] irreverence for all things Indian, Alexie's sophisticated use of humor unsettles conventional ways of thinking and compels re-evaluation and growth, which ultimately allows Indian characters to connect to their heritage in novel ways and forces non-Indian readers to reconsider simplistic generalizations.
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In his best work to date, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, humor allows his characters to display strengths and hide weaknesses, to expose prejudices and avoid realities, and to create bonds and construct barricades. These "contrary powers" often coexist simultaneously, requiring the characters and readers to position and then reposition themselves within shifting personal and cultural contexts.
I draw because words are too limited… When you draw a picture everybody can understand it.
Here, the sacred power of words is seemingly replaced by universal visual images the storyteller considers more functional than the written story. Paradoxically, however, the choice of genre becomes ambiguous because just before the justification of drawing Junior claims that cartoons never speak for themselves. The sanctity of words is further employed in the clarification of cartoons, or rather the latter serve as simplified and generalized visual supplement to the ritualistic employment of language. Alexie further highlights the ambiguity of the sanctity of language by the exclusive use of English.
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In The Diary Junior never claims to have any relation with the Spokane language, while in The Toughest Indian in the World mother-tongue communication of the elders is transcribed into English, indicated by italics. Its predictable generic characteristics notwithstanding, The Diary is not bound either by time or by place. Yet it evokes a train of associations surpassing the personal plot.
- 1. Introduction;
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Such an implied conversation between the personal and the universal is akin with the dialogical nature of American Indian literature that has often been stressed as a characteristic feature. The notion presupposes an interaction between the text and the reader analogous to the relationship between storyteller and listener. The genre of the diary, however, blocks all attempts to participate actively in the plot.
Characteristic features of American Indian culture s , such as notions of Indianness, rituals, travelling, orality, and time, become fictionalized in order to problematize personal and communal identification via quests in geographic and temporal spaces. Indian Fiction? Indian Deaths as Communal Rituals Treuer views Indian death as an ultimate determinant of contemporary fiction, acknowledging that the phenomenon is rooted in the 19 th -century romantic literatures on Indians.
Quest for Ethnic Identity The process by which the main character arrives in a modern urban environment and his reaction to that environment are characteristic of minority literatures. Movement and Travelling The motif of movement and travelling has always been central to American Indian literatures, and in view of white Indian relations it is not by accident. Oral, Cyclic, and Dialogic Dimensions of the Sacred The genre of the diary in itself would suggest a rewriting of contemporary Indian literature in the face of the oral tradition.
London: Andersen, The Toughest Indian in the World. New York: Grove, Allen, Paula Gunn. Boston: Beacon, Boelhower, William. Amritjit Singh, Joseph T. Skerrett, Jr. Boston: Northeastern U P, Eastman, Charles Alexander. The Soul of the Indian. Boston: New World Library, Grassian, Daniel. Understanding Sherman Alexie. Columbia: U of South Carolina P, Momaday, N.
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The Man Made of Words. New York: St. Parker, Robert Dale.
Related Key Aspects in Sherman Alexies Works with Special Reference to his Life
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