Sherman Alexie recounts a story of when he was a young boy, before he understood writing and the structure of an essay. He was examining one of his father's books and saw the delineations that separated the words into paragraphs, and he was struck by the structure. He realized that paragraphs were, as he said "fences" that kept words together, organizing them into coherent thoughts and pointing them in the same direction so that they could work together.
In this realization, he came to learn about the world around him. He recognized that groups of people, cities, and towns all acted as "paragraphs" to collect people together and guide them to a common purpose. More importantly, he recognized this structure in the reservation on which his family lived. This community held the people together and collected them into one place. In that place, they worked for a common purpose and supported one another, making a complete "paragraph".
His understanding of the concept helped him to structure and...
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