Ten Little Indians Term Paper

Pages: 3 (1007 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Literature

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Diverted desire in Ten Little Indians

The name of the short story collection Ten Little Indians by Sherman Alexie takes its name from a politically incorrect children's nursery rhyme also made famous by Agatha Christie's drawing room mystery novel of the same name. Like the nursery rhyme, in Christie's novel, the guests are mysteriously eliminated, one by one, in bloody and ingenious fashions. Sherman Alexie's tales attempt to eliminate stereotypes about Indians, one by one, by depicting Indians who are Republicans, who work in eccentric occupation in Alexie's native Seattle like forest rangers, who are failed high school athletes, and even 'mixed breeds' who are more African-American affiliated than tied to their native past. However, in this collection of short stories, which itself is ironic in its structure because it contains nine rather than ten stories of thwarted individuals, sex and sexuality is always displaced rather than directed towards its original object of desire.Download full Download Microsoft Word File
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TOPIC: Term Paper on Ten Little Indians Assignment

Consider the old hero Jackson, the homeless Indian of "What you Pawn I will Redeem." This aging man seems to conform to stereotypes, in that he is homeless and likes to gamble, but he is does so over the course of the tale mainly to win back what his people have lost -- symbolized by his grandmothers' powwow uniform, hanging in the window of a local pawnshop. Jackson is an alcoholic, because, he suggests, he is unhappy and lacks a future, and also about the oppression of his people, but this sense of valorous resistance at times seems at times like an excuse. The diabetic policeman who stops him as Jackson lies on the train tracks in a stupor says, "you've never been this stupid," in other words, you have never been this drunk before. "It's my grandmother," the Indian says, "She died." The policeman, taken aback states, "I'm sorry man. When did she die?" And Jackson responds "1972," suggesting that the mourning like the robe has become a kind of displacement, an excuse rather than the real thing or real love. The Indian never wins back the clothing, even while he wins money, he compulsively gives it away, drinks it away, and squanders even the first ten dollars on the pretty woman who sells him the scratch off ticket that brings in his first taste of largess. Jackson's uncle also symbolizes the futility of understanding. This man "went to prison forever, you know," for a brutal crime. Cut off from sexual desire, his loved ones, and his people, his uncle, "always wrote these long letters. Like fifty pages of tiny little handwriting. And he was always trying to figure out why he did it. He'd write and write and try to figure it out. He never did. it's a great big mystery."

Desire, and feeling passion in a world where desire only seems to lead to futility, because the society denies the identity of even the most successful Indian, causes Indian people to divert their desires into other, often ineffective ways. Jackson turns to gambling… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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Ten Little Indians.  (2004, December 13).  Retrieved November 27, 2021, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/ten-little-indians/729082

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"Ten Little Indians."  Essaytown.com.  December 13, 2004.  Accessed November 27, 2021.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/ten-little-indians/729082.