Sherman Alexie

Topics: Sherman Alexie, Native Americans in the United States, Alcoholism Pages: 3 (1084 words) Published: October 16, 2012
Sherman Alexie
Sherman Alexie was born in 1966 and raised on the Spokane Indian Reservation in Washington. Although born with a severe case of hydrocephalus, he astonishingly recovered and learned to read at an early age. Alexie used his social rejection to concentrate on his studies. In 1985, he was awarded a scholarship to Gonzaga University where he regrettably began abusing alcohol. His college years can be described as depressing and inspiring. His alcoholism compelled him to convey his feelings on paper. Prompted by Alex Kuo, his poetry professor, Alexie engage in writing using his somber encounters as subject matter. Since his years at Gonzaga, he has published several stories and poems pertaining to Indian culture and life on the reservation. He has been presented with prestigious awards for his screenplays and novels and was named one of the twenty best young American novelists by The New Yorker. Using melancholy tones and woeful themes, Alexie broadcasts his people’s despair and brings light to the ignored feelings of a lost generation. Perpetual alcoholism, fragmented families, and racial alienation are major issues present in Sherman Alexie’s three short stories.

Sherman Alexie’s “Because My Father Always Said He Was the Only Indian Who Saw Jimi Hendrix Play “The Star-Spangled Banner” at Woodstock” follows Victor, a young Native American, fondly reminiscing about his father’s drunken antics. In the story, Victor describes life and relationships while on an Indian reservation. One prime social issue on reserves is alcoholism, and Victor sees heavy drinking as a normal way of life. Victor refers to his parents’ marriage saying, "My mother and father would get drunk and leave parties abruptly to go home and make love." (Alexie 52) He implies that a foundation of alcohol and sex for marriage is unhealthy and volatile. Their “passionate, unpredictable, and selfish,” (Alexie 52) connection and their inevitable divorce seem to be a...
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