Sherman Alexie | Critical Essay by Alex Kuo

This literature criticism consists of approximately 1 page of analysis & critique of Sherman Alexie.
This section contains 297 words
(approx. 1 page at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Essay by Alex Kuo

Critical Essay by Alex Kuo

SOURCE: "Introduction," in The Business of Fancydancing: Stories and Poems by Sherman Alexie, Hanging Loose Press, 1992, p. v.

In the essay below, Kuo describes the wide range of cultural references in Alexie's prose and verse.

Sherman Alexie's territory, as he describes in these forty poems and five stories [in The Business of Fancydancing], ranges from the All-Indian Six-Foot-And-Under Basketball Tournament to ESPN to the politics of geography and family to powwows to Indians "not drinking enough." Alexie's work has escaped the pervasive influence of writing workshops, academic institutions and their subsidized intellect, and has instead focused on reservation and border realities in his eastern section of Washington state.

Central to this landscape inhabited by family, friends, and a wild coterie of reservation cops, seers, Buffalo Bills, Crazy Horses, and of course, fancydancers, is the absence of self-indulgence. The characters in Alexie's work have actual identities whose faces have shadows that suggest other histories. The visionary Seymour and Simon, for example, travel forward and backward in time with dreams that sustain the narrator—often, they are Crazy Horse dreams and do not work, but sometimes they do, in a fancydance that suggests an existence beyond the survival of life's pain and contradictions.

Throughout this collection, there is an emphasis on balancing carefully, and a willingness to forgive, as in the subsistence forays into the sestina in "Spokane Tribal Celebration, September, 1987," and "The Business of Fancydancing." The history these stories and poems remember goes beyond the individual; it is the healing that attends the collective space and distance of both writer and reader, which will hopefully "make everything work / so everyone can fly again." Here, on a long jumpshot arcing into the distance, there is enough light to push back the darkness for several generations to come.

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This section contains 297 words
(approx. 1 page at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Essay by Alex Kuo
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