Captivity By Sherman Alexie Analysis

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In his personal essay, “Captivity”, Sherman Alexie develops an intriguing view on the complexities of the relationship between Native Americans and European Americans, criticizing Caucasians for hypocrisy and fight for power between the two. His many examples comparing the relations between Whites and Native Americans in his essay, while formidable to producing his argument, are helped significantly by a metaphor presented through the mentioning of Mary Rowlandson, a historical figure who was held captive by Native Americans. Alexie’s argument as to the counter productivity and fear produced as a result of race is brought to light partially through the historical reference to the character Mary Rowlandson, reversing roles where instead of the White person being captive, the Native American is.

The introduction of Mary Rowlandson in the piece isn’t until the third section,
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What had happened in history between Caucasians and Native Americans could not be ignored, as it was still affecting him and his family on the reservation now. Mary acts as a good subject because she was originally the victim of Native American wrongdoing, however now Native American’s are receiving disrespectful treatment from her people. He has no regret for pushing the white man out of his life, “I cannot say ‘I love you. I miss you’”(298). He has had to think about the present, and at that time “June, Mary Rowlandson, the water is gone and my cousins are eating Lysol sandwiches”(298). He blames white people for these misfortunes. Alexie address that Native Americans no longer need Caucasians to partition their land or control what they own. “It’s over”(298), and “all [white men] can depend on”(298) is the Native American’s need for them, which is now

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