How To Write The Great American Indian Poem Analysis

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In each of his poems, Sherman Alexie discusses the topics of transgressing boundaries and finding redemption. However, not all of his poems discuss the topics the same way. In the poems "How to Write the Great American Indian Novel," "Crow Testament," and "On the Amtrak from Boston to New York City," redemption may be difficult, but it is possible. In the poem "Evolution" redemption is not possible because of the way white people have treated Indians throughout the years.

The poem "How to Write the Great American Indian Novel" discusses the requirements that make a novel a "Great American Indian Novel." One of these requirements is to have redemption. The speaker says, "There must be redemption, of course, and sins must be forgiven
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During this train ride, he has a conversation with a white woman, who is pointing out famous American landmarks to him. Seeing all of these landmarks begins to make the narrator angry. When the white woman points out a house that is over two hundred years old, the narrator believes that Indian architecture that "is 15,000 years older" (3) is more important. When she mentions Walden Pond, the narrator does not want to hear about Don Henley because "If Don Henley 's brothers and sisters and mothers and father hadn 't come here in the first place then nothing would need to be saved" (6-7). According to him, the white people are the problem. However, despite his anger and hatred towards whites, he did not actually say any of this to the white woman: "All I really did was eat my tasteless sandwich, drink my Diet Pepsi and nod my head whenever the woman pointed out another little piece of her country 's history…" (8-9). Since he did not actually say anything and just nodded his head, he proves that redemption is possible, no matter how much hatred there is between white people and …show more content…
He buys all of the Indians ' valuables that they sell to him. The Indians end up pawning everything: "The Indians pawn their hands, saving their thumbs for last, they pawn their skeletons … and when the last Indian has pawned everything but his heart, Buffalo Bill takes that for twenty bucks" (3-4). This is an analogy to the degradation of the Indian culture by white people. Buffalo Bill and his pawn shop symbolize the way that white people have taken advantage of the Indians. The Indians are unable to find redemption for what white people have done to them. "Evolution" is an ironic name for the poem because the Indians do not evolve, they devolve, because of what white people have done. The fact that Buffalo Bill buys the heart from the Indian without caring depicts the way white people did not care for the Indians or their

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