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Depth Look Into Alexie Shermans Book 'Reservation Blues' (Book Review Sample)


A review ans in-depth look into alexie sherman's book 'reservation blues'

Reservation Blues
The reservation blues employs a cinematic writing style, one that is apparent from the beginning and it is one of the factors that have propelled Sherman Alexie to the top of the list of prolific writers within the shortest time. Most of the content in this manuscript is informed by the popular culture, which is why it carries ethical aspects, emotional aspects and the appeal to logic. Logos, which is the appeal to logic takes center stage in the book because Sherman opts to appeal to his target audience through logical reasoning.
In describing the Indians’ mythical coyote, the author employs an aspect of logos, whereby he provokes his target readers to think of the ideas presented in a logical manner. ‘A trickster whose bag of tricks contains permutations of love, hate, weather, chance, laughter and tears e.g. Lucille Ball’ (Sherman). He tries to strike a balance between the modern and ancient Indian lives but rather than going direct, Sherman evokes those dreary days in which the Indians used to watch black and white television sets, a result of the suicidal ideations, alcoholism and poverty that had rocked their lives. By stating that the Indian health was only full of condoms and dental floss, he expresses this in such a manner that leaves the reader at crossroads, to reason logically and determine whether it is worth crying for or laughing at.
In an attempt to explain why he has taken characters from Tonto and the Lone Ranger, the author also employs an aspect of logos. Some of the most notable characters include Veronica and Betty, Wally and Beaver, Janis Joplin and Billy Jack, some of whom had been drawn from the American Werewolf and they have been used to build an aspect of logical reasoning (Busch). The book is basically a collection of other short stories surrounding these characters and besides, it is the recollection of dream fragments that gives the book its flow. He insists that Indians were meant to receive inspiration and visions from their dreams. ‘It is clear that all Indians on television had visions that told them exactly what to do’ (Sherman). He is definitely writing about the losses that the Indians had faced but rather than pretending like most authors would, he opts to provoke his audience into logical thinking.
‘Is God a man or a woman? God could be an armadillo. I have no idea’ (Sherman). This quote by Sherman begins with an ambiguous question that does not deserve a definite answer. Although he is not sure of it himself, it sparks a lot of reasoning before the reader can come up with a definite conclusion of the issue that has been raised. Although the author is not sure, he gives an indication that God could be an armadillo but unless one reasons logically, it is barely possible to agree with his presumption.
A reflection of the Indian lives and the manner in which they thrived on dreams is best captured in Walter’s dream while sleeping in one of the warm water’s houses. ‘Thomas dreamed about his television and hunger. In his dream, he sat, all hungry and lonely, in his house and wanted more. He turned on his little black and white television to watch white people live. White people owned everything: food, clothes, houses and children. Television constantly reminded Thomas of all he never owned’ (Sherman). It takes some sort of reasoning to determine the basic fact that Thomas owned a television set unlike most Indians of his time and instead of being grateful for what he owned, all he did was to look at the lives of the Whites, asking why they owned everything including children, when he could sire his own.
Sherman also expresses a great sense of emotions in his novel, especially the perceptions that Indians had towards the Whites. ‘Thomas thought about all the dreams that were murdered here, and the bones buried quickly just inches below the surface, all waiting to break through the foundations of those government houses built by the department of Housing and Urban Development’ (Sherman). This quote from the first chapter elicits a lot of emotion, although it is an expression of the dreams that Thomas is thinking of. The quote introduces some of the government agencies that were meant to provide basic necessities such as housing but sadly, they did not respect the sanctity of life even in death and as result, they ended up building houses in cemeteries, something that Thomas detested emotionally. On the other hand, this is the major quote that introduces life’s sadness, highlighting the basic fact that it is one of the major themes in Sherman’s book.
Big mom at some point witnessed the slaughter of Indian horses, a scene that is reintroduced using the phrase ‘the horses screamed’ (Sherman). The slaughter of these horses is in tandem with the numerous Indians that died along and it is a reflection of the somber mood that runs through the book. ‘Big mom played a big flute song every morning to remind everybody that music created and recreated the world daily’ (Sherman). It is evident that the Indians lived in fear but thanks to the songs that were played every morning, they were capable of temporarily forgetting their troubles and hoping for a life that would be free of the fears that they were forced to live with. In order to cope these fears, therefore, the character identified as big mom resolved to music because she believed that it was soothing to the soul and that it carried extraordinary healing powers.
Chess tries to challenge Thomas with regard to the establishment of a band and this is where the emotions of love spring up. In his defense, Thomas says; ‘I guess I heard voices. I mean I’m sort of a liar, enit? I like the attention. I want strangers to love me. I don’t even know why. But I want all kinds of strangers to love me’ (Sherman). Love is a central subject here and it is evident that human beings are created to seek love while avoiding hatred, a reason why Thomas goes to the extent of faking a band. He was sure that the Whites did not like the Indian...
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