Life of Indian Education

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English 1A
26 October 2010
Life of Indian Education
Indian education; it doesn’t necessarily mean to get an Indian education rather to be taught how to be Indian. In Sherman Alexie’s short story “Indian Education” the main character, Junior, is taught the lessons of being an Indian. The story is about Junior’s life in school from first to twelfth grade with a class reunion at the end. Through each grade we see Junior growing up as well as lessons to be learned. Junior finds himself facing many stereotypes, racism, and discrimination towards him, his people, and culture. The short story ends with Junior beating the odds and overcoming all the obstacles he faced. Throughout the story “Indian Education” Alexie’s character learns to be an Indian and learns many lessons of how tough it is to be Indian.

The first lesson being learned of being Indian is being poor. In the first grade Junior was picked on because he was different than the other boys. “My hair was too short and my U.S. Government glasses were horn-rimmed, ugly.” The narrator states how he is different by having his hair too short and ugly glasses. Having his hair too short shows the other Indian boys that he’s different because in Indian tradition the guys usually grow their hair out. He also states that his glasses are provided by the government which tells the reader that he is poor. Experiencing this poverty is common amongst Indians because many of them aren’t educated enough to get a good job to support themselves. Another example from the first grade is when Junior is given nicknames like “Junior Falls Down” and “Cries-Like-a-White-Boy.” His nickname “Cries-Like-a-White-Boy” hints that there is some tension between the Whites and Indians because as said in the story they’ve never heard a white boy cry. These examples show the narrator is learning of being an Indian because being poor is common within the Indian culture and having unfriendly tensions between the Whites is something Indians...
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