First Indian on the Moon
Once again, Sherman Alexie addresses the stereotypes associated with Indians. Before reading another one of Alexie’s collection of poetry, I wondered if he made allusions to animals. I wanted to concentrate specifically on the horse, curious to see if he would reference them more often than Crazy Horse. He didn’t allude to horses more than Crazy Horse, but he did allude to them frequently.
I found this video of horses to listen to the pounding of hooves.
These pictures show hair side by side.
Maybe the Indian man had messy hair that he forced into a braid to deceive onlookers into thinking he has pulled himself together when he is actually falling apart. Horses reappear as a visual in Alexie’s next allusion. “I would close my eyes and dream of something strong, dream of horses exploding, rising into the air, their hearts beating survive, survive, survive.” (51) This quote is linked with the last because Alexie has established Indians are like horses. In my opinion, Alexie is comparing exploding horses to Indians to describe the feeling of survival. What happens to a creature that has been destroyed but can still feel the remains of a beating heart? To me, this spells depression that will continue to be bred into further generations of Native Americans.
I typed "something horrible into something beautiful" and found this ironically, with horses in it.
Finally, and regrettably, the last allusion to horses I found confused me because its implied uselessness is overwhelming. “…give him a blind horse/ who isn’t afraid of trees/ give him a car without breaks or a steering wheel/ give him a ticket to the symphony and tell him all the flutes are snakes…Baby, come make me promises, tell me/ you’ll love me as long as/ the winds blow/ the grasses grow/ the rivers flow.” (87) Even though promises of love are lies, the man is asking for them anyway. A promise of love is like a blind horse unafraid of trees. Again I see a horse personified as an Indian. Alexie’s character is in love with a paradoxical girl, a horse who doesn’t shudder at foreign objects.
Alexie addresses a stereotype to make a point: horses are beautiful, powerful, and timid creatures that can represent a beautiful, powerful, and timid nation of people, Native Americans. I am reminded of the story I was told about how Indians first discovered horses. A flood was fast approaching, and would have wiped out many tribes. The chiefs all gathered to pray for safe passage to a mountain. The heavens sent them horses, or as they called them, big dogs with turtles strapped to their feet. The horses were able to carry every man, woman, and child to safety while hauling their food, shelter, and tools. Ever since, the horse has been remembered as a blessing. This is how I view the American Indians. Their heritage has been a blessing to learn and appreciate during my academic career.