Sherman Alexie Discussion Topics

Discussion Topics

(Masterpieces of American Literature)

In what sense is the title, Reservation Blues, an apt title for the events of that novel?

What is the significance of the band that forms within the novel, Coyote Springs?

Given the fact that Sherman Alexie is an Indian with two tribal traditions from the Pacific Northwest (Spokane, Coeur d’Alene), why does he repeatedly invoke Crazy Horse, an Oglala Lakota (northern Plains) Indian? Does it have anything to do with the refrain from the poem “How to Write the Great American Indian Novel”: “the hero must be . . . from a horse culture”?

Determine the effectiveness of the gallows humor that Alexie uses in his poetry and short fiction.

Alexie frequently describes young Indian men as warriors without a war to fight. What sorts of modern-day replacements do Alexie’s young men use instead of horses and weapons? What sorts of rites of passage and experiences do they need to undergo in order to forge coherent adult identities?

What sorts of racial prejudice do Alexie’s fictional characters suffer, and how do they mediate such prejudice?