Style and Technique

(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

The stylistic challenge Alexie faces in this story is to convince the reader that it is not merely a story of a homosexual encounter or even a story about a man who is a latent homosexual, but rather a story about the authenticity of the old world of the Indian warrior and its refusal to recognize false gender distinctions. To achieve this, Alexie establishes a first-person point of view to allow the narrator to identify his father’s allegiance to Native American hitchhikers with the primitive world of the Native American.

The style of the story is simple and straightforward, for although the narrator yearns nostalgically for a connection to the old mythic world of his forefathers, he is not a particularly philosophical or ruminative man. He often expresses this desire for connection in flippant terms, joking that because Indians believe that if you ignore white people enough they will vanish, perhaps a thousand white families are still waiting for their sons and daughters to return home because they cannot recognize them when they float back as mist and fog.

The narrator does not present himself (as Alexie often does) as a white-bashing polemical voice of his people. In fact, he does not take himself entirely seriously, admitting that he drives a 1998 Toyota Camry because it is the best-selling car in the United States. He also relates, with some humor, his short-term affair with a white woman he worked with, who talked like she was writing...

(The entire section is 490 words.)