The Narrative Power Of Native American Storytelling Essay

1056 Words Jun 30th, 2016 null Page
The Narrative Power of Native American Storytelling

The dramatic-comedy Smoke Signals, a brilliant screenplay written by Sherman Alexie in 1998 and directed by Chris Eyre, inspired by Alexie 's book The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven which details Native American life. Alexie has “...always been fascinated with dreams and stories and flashing forward and flashing back and playing with conventions of time…”, as he stated in “Sending Cinematic Smoke Signals an Interview with Sherman Alexie”. Based on one of many short stories, Smoke Signals tells the humorous adventure of protagonists Victor and Thomas, two Native American boys living on the Coeur d 'Alene Reservation. Saved from a house fire by Victor’s father when he was an infant, Thomas sees Victor’s father Arnold as a hero, while Victor bears both resentment and tenderness from his abuse. Struggling to find forgiveness for his Father’s abandonment, flashbacks and storytelling depict Victor’s deep rooted internal conflict. Storytelling and Flashbacks serve as a medium for Alexie to build an identity for Thomas and Victor, exemplify the culture of Native Americans, and bring Victor the strength to forgive his father.

The identities of Thomas and Victor develop through Alexie’s use of storytelling and flashbacks of hardship, Arnold, and their identity as a Native American. In one of the initial scenes of the film, “A fire rose up… and swallowed my mother and father”, Thomas explains. This line…

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