An Essay on "Otherness"

Topics: Sherman Alexie, Education, Student Pages: 3 (878 words) Published: August 15, 2012
Nohemi Perea Task2/LCT1 8/01/2012 An individual labeled as the Other is different and does not fit in. The Other is “perceived as lacking essential characteristics possessed by the group, the Other is almost always seen as lesser or inferior being and is treated accordingly” (The Other, 2009). A group sets guidelines and if a person does not meet them they will not be accepted as “normal”. Otherness to a group represents awkwardness. Although each person does have its own unique characteristics to prevent from being labeled as the Other you must possess common characteristics within a group. I read “This Is What It Means To Say Phoenix, Arizona” written by Sherman Alexie. It is about a boy named Victor who lives on an Indian Reservation and his dad has just died in Arizona. He wants to go to Arizona and bring back his dad. In this same reservation lives a boy named Thomas Build-theFire, which in this text is the Other. Victor cashes one hundred dollar at the Trading Post where he with curiosity approaches Thomas. He wanted to see if Thomas knew of his father’s death. Sure enough Thomas says to Victor, “I heard it on the wind. I heard it from

the birds. I felt it in the sunlight” (Alexie,1994). While Victor was listening he felt embarrassed. “All other Indians stared, surprised that Victor was even talking to Thomas” (Alexie,1994). Nobody talked to Thomas because he told the same dam stories over and over again” (Alexie,1994). His story telling was why he was the Other. This was not a “normal” characteristic. Thomas joined Victor in his journey to Arizona to pick up the remains of his deceased father. During this journey Thomas reveals to Victor of a dream he had of his father. Thomas tells him how he was saved from the danger of Spokane. He then continues to say, “Take care of each other is what my dreams were saying” (Alexie,1994). In this text Otherness is represented my making it a point to take care of each other no matter our differences. In many...
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