Reservation Blues Lesoson Plans
by Sherman Alexie

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"Reservation Blues" Creative Writing Assignment

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When I teach, I intend on teaching a variety of women’s and ethnic literature in addition to the typical ‘canon’ of English literature. Ethnic literature employs a multitude of unique writing styles and voices. This fact opens up the possibility of unique writing assignments. The following is an assignment that I would give near the end of the year after proper academic essaywriting has been learned, and students are ready to stretch their creative muscles.

EALR: 2. The student writes in a variety of forms for different audiences and purposes.

Component: 2.3. Writes in a variety of forms/genres. W

Grade Level Expectation: 2.3.1. Uses a variety of forms/genres.

EALR: 3. The student reads different materials for a variety of purposes.

Component: 3.4. Read for literary experience in a variety of genres.

Grade Level Expectation: 3.4.4. Analyze and evaluate the great literary works from a variety of cultures to determine their contribution to the understanding of self, others, and the world.


  • Students will read Reservation Blues.
  • Students will analyze the themes in Reservation Blues
  • Students will write a narrative in the style of Reservation Blues.

Assessment: Students will turn in an essay written in the style of  eservation Blues and dealing with the themes of the novel. The paper will be graded based on the consideration of Alexie’s writing style, and evidence of thought about the major themes of the book.

Purpose: Students often have to write academic essays in a strict form in order to prove understanding. In the case of Reservation Blues, by Sherman Alexie, an academic essay would not be an appropriate medium for analysis. Students will be instructed to pay attention to the style of magical realism that the novel is written in as well as the themes of the novel. Separate lesson plans will deal with these specifically. At the end of the unit, students will write in the style of magical realism. They can use characters from the book, or make up characters, insert themselves, or write abstractly with no characters. Students will use evidence from the book creatively; in dialog, poetry, or narrative commentary. This assignment gives students an opportunity to be creative and to connect with an author’s style on a deeper level.

About this Document

This lesson provides EALRs, instructions, a sample essay, and a rubric for completing a creative essay after reading "Reservation Blues" by Sherman Alexie.