Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Toughest Indian in the World

sad-funny-sad sandwich.
"Our vows were witnessed by three dozen of Susan's best friends, along with most of her coworkers at the architecture firm, but Susan's handsome brother and parents stayed away as a protest against my pigmentation.
'I can understand fucking him,' her brother had said upon hearing the news of our engagement. 'But why do you want to share a checking account?'
He was so practical." (39-40)
Alexie is introducing a horrible concept through marriage, racism. At the wedding of a red man and white woman, the white woman's family wouldn't show up because of his skin color. This is obvious by the brother's statement. What is ironic about the last half of the brother's questions is the fact that the red man is paying for the entire wedding, despite the fact his to-be-wife makes twice his salary. Luckily, Alexie finishes us off with a sarcastic statement, "He was so practical."

"Is this what it feels like?
To be loved, to be held, to be intimate without the fear of penetration?
I think so.
Yes, I think so, too. I think this is what women have wanted from men for all of our lives. I think they want to be held in our arms and fall asleep in the absence of body fluids.
I think you may be right.
They held each other tighter and tighter. They were not aroused. They were warm and safe." (70)

Two men are trying to fall in love because they both believe in love, but are not gay. Their situation might seem funny, but there is not much love existing in the world today. So, their sad situation is made comical through a comment about women, which i think is true. Then, the two men realize how right it feels to be "warm and safe."
funny-sad-funny sandwich.
A: Good for you. But don't you want to talk about powwow dancing?
Q: Well, sure, what would you like to say?
A: I was the worst powwow dancer in the world. I'd started dancing at some powwow, and Master of Ceremonies would shout out, 'Hey, stop the powwow, stop the powwow, Etta is dancing, she's ruining ten thousand years of tribal traditions. If we don't stop the powwow now, she might start singing, and then we're really going to be in trouble.'
Q: Well, I suppose that's not going to help my thesis." (207)
This situation turns sad because an Indian woman doesn't fit a stereotype. She cannot dance well. What the Master of Ceremonies says is way too harsh, especially the "ruining ten thousand years of tribal traditions." Then the white boy interviewing the Indian woman states that she is not a help to him, which is funny because Etta had pointed out that he didn't know anything about Indians.
"When I was six years old, a bear came out of hibernation too early, climbed up on the roof of the Catholic Church, and promptly fell back asleep. In itself not an amazing thing, but what had amazed me then, and amazes me now, is that nobody, not one Spokane Indian, bothered that bear. Nobody called the police or the Forest Service. None of the Indian hunters who'd always taken advantage of defenseless animals and humans. Hell, even the reservation dogs stopped barking whenever they strolled past the church. We all, dogs and Indians alike, just continued on with our lives, going to work or school, playing basketball and hide-and-seek, scratching at fleas, sleeping with other people's spouses, marking our territory, while that bear slept on." (221)
This story was the most amazing i have ever read by Alexie. The situation is of course funny, but it is very serious too because the bear was undisturbed. That courtesy is so uncommon among people. They are more likely to do what they do best, like "sleeping with other people's spouses," which I thought was funny.