Journal 10 – 9

4 12 2012

In Smoke Signals, the film shows a lot of Thomas and Victor’s relationship. It shows many sides of the spectrum, from what looks like hate from Victor to Thomas all the way to Victor giving a part of him to Thomas. Victor shows that he cares in the end.

A few times in the film, there are flashbacks to their childhood. One of those scenes shows Victor beating Thomas up because he was asking why his father had left. Obviously, this shows a rough patch in their relationship. But, this relationship evolves with time. When Thomas offered the money to Victor to get them to Arizona, it showed that Thomas cared about not only Victor’s father, but also Victor himself. To me, Victor treated Thomas very bad throughout the film. One time when Thomas was treated badly was when they were walking to find his dads trailer and Thomas politely offered water to Victor, but Victor shoved the water canister back into Thomas, and when he was offered it a second time, Victor threw it into the distance. That was just rude. Victor also tells Thomas to “shut up” multiple times. That shows a pretty bad friendship.

But towards the end, their friendship starts to get better. Thomas tells Victor how he feels while they are driving back to the reservation. I think that after that little argument, Victor gets a little reality check. He understands Thomas a little bit more and gives Thomas some of Arnold’s ashes. Thomas begins to tear up, and that moment is when I think that their friendship changed. 

Journal 9-6

12 11 2012

Even though most of these stories are an over exaggeration about what really happened, Alexie includes one aspect in all of his stories, and that is the use of alcohol. In his stories, he doesn’t just mention the use of alcohol, but the point to where people are passed out drunk. The reason that Alexie chose to include something like this was because drinking is a big part of what happens on the reservation, he wasn’t going to just lie about it. This is real stuff, these are real problems that happen and in these stories Alexie is informing us, so to leave out something so crucial, such as drinking, would be a disservice to the audience.

Another reason that Alexie includes this aspect of the Indian reservation is because it is interesting, and pulls the reader in. One story that includes drinking and pulled me into keep reading was “Jesus Christ’s half-brother is Alive and Well on the Spokane Indian Reservation” because when Victor becomes the father of James, he quits drinking. To quit drinking on the reservation is a big thing, so you can tell that James meant a lot to Victor even though  taking care of him was frustrating at some points. Alcohol on the reservation was almost a necessity and for Victor to give that up, shows a lot.

Another story that Alexie uses to show the alcoholic lives of the Indians is “The Approximate Size of my Favorite Tumor.” In this story, Raymond passes out drunk in front of a preacher at a wedding and does many other intoxicated acts. If Alexie were to leave out scenes like this, it would be boring and it wouldn’t show us the true things that happen on the reservation.

Journal 8-3

5 11 2012

In the book The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fist Fight in Heaven, Sherman Alexie describes the life of a Native American on and off of the reservation. Alexie himself left the reservation as he was growing up, calling himself an “apple”. The apple reference explains how Native Americans are considered to be the red skins, so he is an Indian on the outside. But the inside of an apple is white, so on the inside he is kind of being a white skin because of his desire to leave and move on in his life in a different ways than others. There were many advantages and disadvantages that Alexie had to face when moving off of the reservation.

One of the disadvantages was that no one really had done this before and so he had some pretty big shoes to fill. People made fun of him and didn’t believe in him. He grew up on the reservation, this is where he belonged but he was parting from what the Indian life was supposed to be like so many people frowned upon it.

The advantages in Alexie’s desire to leave were that he was doing this to live for bigger and better things. He would have more opportunities leaving the reservation. Alexie now is well known for many books, and poems, if he wouldn’t have left he probably never would have been where he is today. The advantage of him leaving was not only the chance to chase his dream, but to live and accomplish his dream, to write.