Identity And Identity In Class By Sherman Alexe

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In the short story “Class” by Sherman Alexie, the protagonist Edgar Eagle Runner tries to fulfill his need to sleep with a fellow Native American woman while struggling to hold unto his marriage. He does this in order to find a better sense of his own identity and heritage.
It seems from the very beginning that Runner would have issues with his race and identity. He described his mother by saying, “Velma, my dark-skinned mother, was overjoyed by my choice of mate. She’d always wanted me to marry a white women and beget half-breed children who would marry white people who would beget quarter-bloods, and so on and so on, until simple mathematics killed the Indian in us” (40). We see that he had been raised in a way that looked down on his skin
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He uses his Native American looks as a way to get women to sleep with him. He sais, “I’d told any number of white women that I was part Aztec and I’d told a few that I was completely Aztec. That gave me some mystery, some ethnic weight, a history of glorious color and mass executions. Strangely enough, there were aphrodisiacal benefits to claiming to be descended from ritual cannibals” (40). He finds that the only time he can truly be proud of or flaunt his heritage is when it is used as a sort of exotic fetish for white women. We even see it when he first introduces himself to his future wife and uses his full Indian name, Edgar Eagle Runner, rather than the name on his lisence, Edgar Joseph, to impress her. From the beginning of their relationship we can see that he isn’t honest with himself and seems to be pulled between his two …show more content…
When he gets in an argument with a muscular Indian man, the man calls him out by saying “Drive back to your wife. She’s white, enit? Yeah, blonde and blue-eyed, I bet… Go back to your mansion and read some fucking Teletubbies to your white fucking kids” (51). This strikes Runner on a deeply personal level and he makes his pain public (something he said earlier you should never do) by challenging the man to a fight. We see that he feels as if he’s failed as a man, first to please his wife, and then by failing to bear white children. Having a white child would have been a cleansing process for Edgar, to get rid of the Indian that his mother tried so hard to hide. After getting beaten pretty badly he wakes up in the arms of the Indian bartender. He sais, “I looked up at her. I decided she was still pretty and pretty was good enough. I grabbed her breast… ‘Shit’ she said and shoved me away… ‘What’s wrong with you?’” (54). In this quote we can see he alludes back to first meeting with his wife. In the beginning of their first encounter, when he had first told her she was beautiful, she had said, “No I’m not. I’m just pretty. But pretty is good enough” (38). In a way he implants the memory of wife unto this Indian woman. In his mind she symbolizes a life which he no longer has to struggle with his marriage and his heritage, and things are

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