Response Essay of the Book War Dances by Sherman Alexie
War Dances by Sherman Alexie is a collection of poems and short stories that portray the author’s American and Indian heritage. The book was published by Grove Press in October, 2009. In his work, the author explores stereotype through the use of examples of situation s that he has been subjected to both during the time he mingled with the Americans and the Indians. Throughout his work, the author summarizes each stereotype by giving a general view of his opinion. Alexie manages to go beyond the stereotypes both in his short stories and in his poems. Alexie manages to portray real life experiences through his character in a way that connects to the reader. Nobody is perfect. We learn from our mistakes and through mingling with people irrespective of our differences.
Alexie is able to reach out to the reader due to his choice of words. Moreover, he manages to bring to the attention of reader situations that portray everyday’s life. “Your son discretely remembers the feet tranquil had their toenails and slight tufts of swine fur. Could this be true? Through the use of the rhetoric question, the author involves the reader in drawing conclusions. This is extremely crucial in ensuring that the author achieves his purpose of passing on his message of the impact that parents have on their children. In his short story, he notes that the son to the alcoholic father remained concerned about his father’s heath and well being. He also remembered all the things that he had done with his father. This implies that irrespective of the image portrayed by the alcoholic father, the son still looks up to him. After all, his son understands clearly that nobody is perfect.
The author is also keen to note divisions such as race or the choices that individuals make should not be misjudged. On the contrary, people need to realize that the diversity portrayed through the choices we make should be a stepping stone towards discovering ourselves and our role in life. This is portrayed through the characters in the short story “Senator’s Son.” When a friend finds out that his best friend is gay, he is disturbed by these facts. However, he eventually realizes that he has no right to judge his friend. This is upon the realization that each individual has his or her own flaws. However, that does not deter us from attaining our goals or the things that we set to achieve in our lifetime. This is confirmed true when he meets his friend later in life only to find out that his political stand on the Republicans had not changed a bit regardless of the actuality that he was not straight.
The author’s stand on physical divisions also extends to the issues of ethnicity. Given the fact that he has his origin in India, he notes that it does not count whether one is black or white, rich or poor, gay or straight. At the end of the day, he is keen to note that all Americans are similar. This was portrayed by the fact that they were all subjected to similar things. For instance, they sang along to the same genres of music irrespective of their origins. “And if words and melody can wind their way into and about our DNA strands — and Paul believed they possibly would — wouldn’t American pop music be passed from age group to age group as easily as blue eyes and baldheadedness?”. Each person has a flaw. However, that is no reason to divide ourselves in a mannerism to suggest that we cannot mingle with the rest of the society. By coming together, we are able to share ideas and promote peace among everyone.
The choice of words ion the poems that the author has added in the book is extremely breathtaking. The rhythm created keeps the reader engaged and eager to read profoundly into the book. This is a clear indication that the author is able to reach out to the target audience. Also, the use of historical events of a procrastination of the future keeps the reader glued to the content because they are reading something that they can connect to throughout the reading. His storylines are based on the actions of individuals which later make them think about the choices that they made. Therefore, the author helps the readers recapture their actions by reflecting o their lives. Eventually, he creates the urge for individuals to think about the effects of their actions. This implies that he helps better the life of individuals.
The author also explores the theme of stereotype. He reviews the effects of race on the type of stereotype that individuals hold. For instance, when the alcoholic father has his surgery, his son particularly looks for an Indian family to borrow a blanket from them. Also, the father insists on blessing his daughter in order to ensure that her baby receives the rightful name. This is clear indication of divisions and limitations that are as a result of ethnicity and the stereotypes that they believe in. “So you would like to borrow a coverlet from us? … You’re stereotyping your own damn people”.
The problem with stereotypes is they intoxicate us with thoughts of inequality and they propagate a culture of “us versus them” which has led to many feeling less able or dejected. Even of more concern is that the available means to change these perceptions are involved more in cementing these stereotypes as opposed to trying to change these misconceptions on others. Alexie notes “within recent history, the media’s capacity to spawn mass impressions instantaneously has been a pivotal factor in the dissemination of stereotypes”. Considering the extent of these mediums of communication and their acceptability around the globe just compounds the depth of stereotypes and confirms that the likelihood of seeing them fade away within our society is just minimal. Alexie supports these thoughts when he notes that it is impossible to have clear communication without clear thinking. His contributions are clearly presented in his principle of the excluded middle. He indicates that there is no middle state between being and non being. Therefore, it is either one is a stereotype or they not.
Stereotypes are developed mostly dependent on information communicated to us or experiences we have gone through. However, this information or these experiences do not contain the full information and thus does not warrant forming conclusions on any of the traits exhibited. Unfortunately, this is a normality with most human beings who find gathering information a tedious exercise, matters are worsened by complacency which has most people forming conclusions based on fallacious statements which obscure facts and paves way for illogical conclusions.
The author engages the readers in drawing conclusions in regards to the human experiences that characters in his short stories go through. In the short story “Breaking and Entering”, the character George is subjected to a lot of unnecessary pressure after he breaks the news that he is not really white. He is misjudged and individuals tend to seclude him just because of his race. His condemnation leads him to ask the following, “”So, Althea, do you desire to get into a ache contest? Do you want to partake in the Genocidal Olympics? Whose catastrophic history has more wideness and depth and length?
The author is able to pass on his message to his readers through the emotional style of writing that he uses. This helps him reach out to his intended audience. Also, the use of his own life experience helps the reader connect easily with the author. This is portrayed when he remembers his childhood days. “My sons, while I was a boy, I threw grime clods. And flurry grenades stuffed with concealed rocks, and fought. Enemies -other Indian boys – who contemplated. Like me, that pleasurable war turned us into gods. The author categorically states that failure to do this will lead to regrets in the future. However, it is vital to note that the young people make their own choices. This means that parents ought to do their part and leave the rest to the rightful judgments of the victims.
The choice of words and repetitions to make emphasis helps him reach out to the reader. He is able to make the reader understand that irrespective of the love that we feel to wards the victim, it is important to accept reality and face it once and for all. The author is strategic to ensure that parents going through similar situations feel at ease about their situations. This, he says, would help them relieve any pain and emotions that they may be feeling. He also encourages them to be there for their loved ones. This will ensure that they heal faster.
Alexie’s work is of great help to the parents and families going through difficult situations. He presents to them options on how to deal with their situations. This is well communicated by the use of familiar situations and eloquent language.