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Survival Humor Essay

857 words - 4 pages

The perception of Native Americans from mainstream America is far from the reality of the true culture of the Native American community. Most Americans would stereotype the Natives as a humorless and serious group of people, because of the traditions of the tribal communities and the years of mistreatment from the government. However, contemporary Native American authors, such as Sherman Alexie and Louise Erdrich, have disproved the perception of the Native American people through their writing. Alexie and Erdrich religiously use humor within their writing as a method to cope with the mainstream culture in order to survive and to raise awareness of the conditions the Native Americans are ...view middle of the document...

Victor views the alcohol as something that might help him, he says that “the alcohol seeping through their skin might get him drunk, might help him sleep” (9). The event Victor describes is when he crawled in-between his parents in their bed. While the reader would think that the comfort of his parents would help him sleep, Victor instead hopes that the alcohol his parents drank will help him sleep. Once again Victor switches the viewpoint on how alcohol is looked at in the situation and provides a humorous outlook on the subject. Instead of complaining about how his parents are alcoholics he is hoping that the alcohol rubs off on him to help him sleep. Alexie presents the problem with alcohol in a humorous tone; this technique helps the characters survive with the problem while still identifying the problem to the audience.
In the short story, “Amusements”, Alexie portrays the problems that alcohol causes within the Native American communities but brings out the humor caused by the alcohol. This technique helps the Natives deal with the problem of alcoholism and turn the issue into a laughable matter instead of a sad and terrible problem. Victor is at a white carnival with Sadie and finds a drunken Indian passed out drunk and refuses to leave without helping Dirty Joe. Victor and Sadie sit beside the drunken Indian and joke that “We should be charging admission for this show” (55). The two made a joke out of the situation that they could charge the white people money to watch the drunken Indian...

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