Felippe Wancelotti Mrs. Amelkin AP Lang 10/4/2012 “Indian Education” Subject: Sherman Alexie delivers an essay portraying his life from a yearly view-point encompassing the 1st to 12th grade. Occasion: Indian misconceptions, mistreatments, stereotypes, and discriminations all affected Alexie on his educational highway and served as a basis for the writing of “Indian Education”.
Audience: Alexie’s audience is primarily those interested in the lifestyle of Native Americans. Purpose: Alexie highlights how he ultimately overcame the hardships suffered during his early years due to his Indian ethnicity and displays how Native Americans were, and continue, to suffer from discrimination. Tone: His tone is saddened and bitter, almost as if he feels sorry for those who couldn’t achieve success alongside him.
Thesis In his essay, “Indian Education”, published in the story collections The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven in 1993, Sherman Alexie highlights how he ultimately overcame the hardships suffered during his early years due to his Indian ethnicity and displays how Native Americans were, and continue, to suffer from discrimination.
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With the use of clever identically constructed sentences to contrast his academic ascendency with the decline of those around him, powerful segment conclusions to create a spatial effect between different periods of his life in relation to environment and discrimination, and a thematic transition to display how discrimination became imprinted in his mind through consecutive years of mistreatment, Alexei portrays the bitterness associated with the loss of a society. Writing Strategy 1. Alexie sets the scenes up in separate sections with labeled headings to further differentiate each period of his yearly “life”.
His narrative technique provides a spatial effect; each section feels like a new or different period in his life, something that cannot be easily achieved with continuous sentences. He does so to show how rapidly his environment could change, but how his treatment as an individual and the discrimination he received remained the same. 2. The brief conclusions all serve to indicate cold, harsh, and impactful conclusions to his yearly cycle which further emphasize the schism between school years. Some of the conclusions serve different functions, though.
For example, when he ends his third grade segment with “I’m still waiting. ” it is short and impactful; but, when he ends the fifth grade segment with a rhetorical question “Oh, do you remember those sweet, almost innocent choices that the Indian boys were forced to make? ” the segment seems to linger on for a moment longer, portraying that the event had a stronger impression than the previous, shorter conclusion. 3. The thematic transition in the seventh grade segment occurs when he kisses the white girl, and almost as if he betrays his tribe, is sent away to a farm town.
Through the seventh grade transition, the theme transcends from social outcast and discrimination to somewhat unconscious discrimination but social acceptance. Prior to the seventh grade segment, he is explicitly mistreated and bullied, alienated from society. After the seventh grade though, at the farm town, he doesn’t display any direct discrimination, everything he relates and portrays as discrimination is completely indirect and taken as such. 4.
I think he ends with the Class Reunion section to display how the drastic change in his life during seventh grade affected his outcome. The effect this image shows is that the author had to alienate himself from his own society in order to succeed. Those he left behind stayed behind. Language 1. No capitalization serves the purpose of not identifying Indians as a racial ethnicity; the teacher views Native Americans as severely inferior to both herself and society. 2.
Alexie uses the hyperbole to display how no one wanted to be seen around an Indian; they avoided him for “500 years” when they discovered he was Native American. The hyperbole exaggerates the factuality of the event, but it probably felt like 500 years to him. 3. The irony in paragraphs 67 and 68 is that the “Indians” (the school) lost a football game due to him, an Indian. Alexie cannot seem to eradicate these indirect discriminations, and associates them at an emotional level. 4.
Alexie uses the similarly structured sentences to compare himself to those around him. He is different to his environment and its population in almost every way. In paragraphs 29 and 31, Alexie’s sentence regarding himself shows an interest in mathematics, whilst the sentence regarding his cousin, although related to sciences, has a derogatory connotation. In paragraphs 70 and 72 the same style of writing occurs. Alexie is looking “toward the future” whilst his classmates “look back toward tradition”. He is the only one moving forward.
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