Sherman Alexie Indian Themes

1211 Words 5 Pages
Throughout Sherman Alexie’s novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, there are many main themes and topics that are brought to light before the reader's eyes. However, there are two major topics that stick out like a sore thumb; similar to a bull in a china shop, or a fish out of water.These two dynamic topics are death and alcohol. Throughout this novel alcohol has a major negative impact on Arnold and his family; an impact that costs the ultimate heart wrenching price: death, destruction, and despair. Although the momentous subjects of alcohol and death are made evident from the very start of the novel, the first moment these two topics interact with each other are towards the middle of the book. Located on the Spokane Indian …show more content…
The natives love their boo’s, in fact they are addicted to them. Not because they like to have fun and party, but because they are sad, angry, and depressed. They use alcohol as a way to numb and tolerate their pain; stemming from the fact that they are stuck on a miserable reservation, with no opportunities, living miserable lives-feeling screwed over and sorry for themselves. Arnold is finally getting settled into his new school at Reardan when something very tragic occurs. “She was walking back home from a mini powwow at the Spokane Tribal Community Center, when she was struck and killed by a drunk driver”(157). Arnold’s Grandmother is dead. Gone. Never to be seen again. All on the account of one idiot Spokane Indian who was driving under the influence of alcohol. This is the first moment in the story alcohol has a direct impact on Arnold and his family resulting in the death of a family member. As a result of this, Arnold and his family are thrown into a deep pit of misery and sadness. His dad turns to alcohol to numb his pain and frequently goes out to bars and will disappear for days. When Arnold and his mother try to get him to come …show more content…
This time Arnold’s dads best friend Eugene is shot in the face and killed. Eugene and his friend were out late getting really drunk, when they started to argue over who should get the last sip of liquor from a bottle of wine. However, instead of writing a complete description in words of how Eugene was killed, Sherman Alexie decides to dedicate a full page cartoon to this matter. The cartoon is titled, “How to get the last sip of wine from the bottom of the bottle”(170), and includes five small play by play images of how Eugene got killed. This is the second time that too much alcohol has directly caused death. Eugene and his friend drink too much, get into a silly argument, and one ends up shooting the other in the face. The author chooses to included a picture cartoon rather than a word for word description of how Eugene died for a couple of important reasons. Throughout the novel, a variety of cartoons and pictures are included to go along with the book. Looking closely at these cartoons and pictures, there is one common characteristic that most of them possess: alcohol. The author chooses to include traces of alcohol in his pictures and cartoons to illustrate how serious of an issue it is to the people of the Spokane Indian Reservation. So much so that people are frequently dying as a result of alcohol including Arnold's family, causing

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