Journal 8

1 11 2012

Journal 8 (first half of book)

Due: Tuesday, Nov. 6; 2 Blog Responses Due: Thursday, Nov. 8

 Choose one of the topics below. Your blog should be at least 250 words.  You will also do two responses of at least 100 words each.

1.  In the story “The Only Traffic Signal on the Reservation Doesn’t Flash Red Anymore,” the narrator tells us, “It’s hard to be optimistic on the reservation” (49). In this book, how does Alexie illustrate the truth of this statement? What purpose do you see in Alexie writing this kind of book about reservation life?

2.  In many stories in this collection, the longing to be a warrior like Crazy Horse and the desire for heroes and heroines is dramatized. Why do you think the desire for heroes is so strong on the reservation?

3.  Sherman Alexie himself left the reservation. What are the advantages and disadvantages for a Native American born on the reservation to leave it?

4.  One character, Thomas Builds-the-Fire, is a seer, a person who has visions and tells stories. He also can be seen as the repository of the tribe’s past. Why do you think the others on the reservation avoid him and his stories?

5.  This book is a well-known and highly-regarded short story collection. Why do suppose this is, since they are written about what is currently a minority population in the U.S. What common issues do these stories discuss that people of other ethnic groups can relate to?

6.  In many of these stories, people are drinking heavily, drunk, or passed out. Alexie has been criticized for keeping the stereotype of the drunken Indian alive. Why do you suppose he chose to show this aspect of Indian life?

7. Discuss Alexie’s use of humor in the book and how it helps people on the reservation to survive.

8. Choose your own topic: Choose to explore a particular theme from the short story collection that you find interesting and/or important.

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