Essay on Reservation Blues By Sherman Alexie

1175 Words May 17th, 2016 5 Pages
Reservation Blues

A common theme in both “If 6 was 9” and Jimi Hendrix Reservation Blues by Sherman Alexie, is those perceived to be different are denounced by others around them. This is seen by Coyote Springs, a Spokane band originating from the Northwest. As Coyote Springs struggles to rise into stardom, they face many challenges. Faced with exotification and exploration of their own culture as well as alienation from their own tribe, the band continues to push forth and create music on their own accord.

Native Americans, despite being idolized by White people throughout the novel, face many of their own struggles. People drown their sorrows in alcohol and live in constant poverty, begging on the street. Flathead Indian Chess tells her sister Checkers that “You ain’t really Indian unless there was some point in your life that you didn’t want to be.” (p. 98) Two white hipsters named Becky and Veronica; however, would love to be Spokanes. They think being Native Americans means having “things we don’t have. You live at peace with the earth. You are so wise.” (p.168) This is an exotification of Native Americans, believing they live in peace and pureness while the outside world is dark and full of evil. They could never be part of the Spokane tribe. Purely wanting to be part of a group and not actively understanding their struggles creates this idealistic view of the Indians. Chess best sums this up when Betty and Veronica witness a fight go down and decide to leave…

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