Sherman Alexie's Every Little Hurricane and Amusements Essay

Sherman Alexie's Every Little Hurricane and Amusements Essay

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The perception of Native Americans from mainstream America is far from the reality of the true culture of the Native American community. Most Americans would stereotype the Natives as a humorless and serious group of people, because of the traditions of the tribal communities and the years of mistreatment from the government. However, contemporary Native American authors, such as Sherman Alexie and Louise Erdrich, have disproved the perception of the Native American people through their writing. Alexie and Erdrich religiously use humor within their writing as a method to cope with the mainstream culture in order to survive and to raise awareness of the conditions the Native Americans are living in. Alexie exposes the contemporary issues that the Native Americans deal with both on and off the reservation such as poverty, unemployment, and alcoholism. In Alexie’s collection of short stories, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, he uses survival humor in the stories, “Every Little Hurricane” “Amusements”, as a method for the characters to deal with the problems they face with alcoholism.
Alcoholism is one of the most prevalent issues within the Native American communities. In the short story, “Every Little Hurricane”, the main character, Victor, deals with problems with alcohol in his family’s life. Alexie uses humor within the story when dealing with alcohol to cope with family problems, such as when “Victor dreamed of whiskey, vodka, tequila, those fluids swallowing him just as easily as he swallowed them” (7). The humor behind Victor dreaming about alcohol is that most people dream of a positive future vision of something to happen in their life, when Victor is dreaming of alcohol as if it is a positive thing in his lif...


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...story provides a funny story but still demonstrates one of the most relevant issues within the Native community, alcoholism.
Although Native Americans certainly dealt with difficult situation such as the struggles with the United States government, alcoholism, and maintaining traditional ways, Sherman Alexie and Louise Erdrich prove that there was a lighter side to the tribal communities. These authors reveal how the Native people handled the hard times with humor and held their heads high instead of giving up hope. The Native Americans saw humor as a way to cope with the hardships of their lives and found laughter within their position in the mainstream US culture. Most importantly, humor brought strength and resiliency to the Native Americans, which allowed them to withstand the hardships in order to adapt to the rapidly changing mainstream society around them.

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