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What is Sherman Alexie's perspective on otherness in This is what it means to say...

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kerrierg | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 2) Honors

Posted November 14, 2010 at 3:56 AM via web

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What is Sherman Alexie's perspective on otherness in This is what it means to say Phoeniz, Arizona, and what supports this perspective in the text?,

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copelmat | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted December 2, 2010 at 1:47 AM (Answer #1)

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Sherman Alexie suggests through his short story that all of us--in one context or situation or another--face being the "other," the person often left out or denigrated in some way or another. As human beings, none of us like feeling this way and often strike out to keep ourselves from being treated in this way, and yet we all also turn around and treat others this same way as well.

Clearly, Thomas has been made to feel as the "other" throughout his life in his experiences with Victor. Victor has been verbally and mentally abusive toward Thomas for being different. Victor was often treated in a very similar manner by his father, who--at least in the instance of Spokane Falls--treated Thomas very well. Navigating these realities and coming to terms with them is the central conflict of this story. And although that conflict is never fully resolved, we do sense as readers that by story's end these two characters are more able to their world through one another's eyes.

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