Young Adult Lit/Crit

April 22, 2008

Alexie Article – From Wellpinit to Reardon

Filed under: Articles for Class — allison @ 8:45 pm

Hi all,

I just wanted to get some discussion started on the article about Sherman Alexie. I had already heard a lot of the background on him, but as I read, I wondered if this biographical information was new and exciting to anyone. What did you all think? Wouldnt this be a great article to share with students to show them where storied can come from: our lives, our past, our culture, our family, etc. I thought it was so cool that basketball was so important to ALexie. Being from CNY, specifically Lafayette, I knew that lacrosse is a sport that can be culturally iconic on reservations, but I had no idea about basketball until I read this article. I also thought it was cool that Alexie says that Indian is really the story of his father, too. It’s something we might not think about when reading the book, but this is the type of honesty that Crutcher talked about when he came to speak to  us. It’s what makes Alexie’s book so so good. There is a discussion of censorship at the end of the article, certainly worth reading if you have not yet, and there’s a shout out to Crutcher! He says that censorship is the notion that “kids don’t have complicated emotional lives.” Anyone who was once an adolescent knows that this is not true. Alexie, Crutcher, and others are honest with kids, and the kids love their books for the honesty.

TO say a little more about culture, I thought it was great to hear Alexie reflect upon the role of culture. It really drove the point of Part-Time Indian home for me. “When you speak of culture, if you make an anaology with the heart, it’s dangerous to think that you have to be monogamous.” I thought this was SO insightful, and kids would relate to this. Don’t kids often feel like more than one person? They certainly behave differently around different people. Alexie’s words are a beautiful way to understand one’s identity. The article ends with Alexie listing the many many tribes that he belongs to. Such a great way to think about the many groups of people we associate with, and the many different “cultures” that we belong to.



1 Comment »

  1. Allison,
    I somehow don’t have this article. Would it be possible for you to bring it to class tonight? I am very interested and eager to read it.

    Comment by sostrom — April 23, 2008 @ 8:58 am

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