Smoke Signals Response Paper

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The movie Smoke Signals by Sherman Alexie is a modernized film that reflects the culture, attitudes, and persona of contemporary Indians. This film exposes the reality of life on a reservation, which many may mistake for nightly fire dances and feather hats. Through universal life scenarios and explanation of culture, Alexie not only shines a new light on indian life, but reflects upon the similarities and differences that exist between cultures. The film makes use of human emotion, situations and relationships to create a dramatic and truthful dynamic of the solid and figurative connections between Native America and White America. Besides these important factors, Alexie also touches upon the importance of family and culture.

This film is not an ordinary Native American film that many are used to viewing. It has very little examples and scenes of religion and it competely modernizes the life situations of Indians. Daily radio broadcasts, basketball teams, house parties and casual everyday clothing are a few examples of how Alexie portrays the modern Indian. Besides the blunt cultural clues and skin color, one could say that these behaviors and activities were of the everyday American. Of course, the life on the reservation is clearly seperated from other communities. This is apparent in the scene where two young women pick up the main characters Thomas and Victor and give them a ride out of the reservation. They exclaim how they should "have their passports" and their "vaccinations" in order to leave the reservation. Another scene includes two white men who steal Thomas's and Victor's seat on a bus. Alexie clearly shows the cultural conflict and seperation, but his purpose to connect all cultures is shown strongly in other ways.

Although there are scenes that expose stereotypes that are still believed today, such as Indians being alcoholics, these stereotypes are also contradicted through certain character actions and attitudes. In John Mihelich's...
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