Sherman Alexie’s The Toughest Indian in the World is a collection of short stories, which seek to construct the image of the modern Native American. Alexie’s narrators are often adults who have awakened to the unhappy reality of middle-aged dissatisfaction. This is not simply the equivalent of the mid-life crisis popularized by mainstream America; we do not encounter an older man who feels the need to relive his youth by purchasing a new Ferrari or by engaging in elicit affairs with women decades younger. Instead, the mid-life and sometimes quarter-life crises experienced by the protagonists in The Toughest Indian in the World involve the acknowledgement of a profound emptiness that has been brewing beneath the surface for years. Many equate the emptiness to a cultural void and assess the need to fill the cultural void via a cultural experience. One of the notable short stories, “South By Southwest,” offers humorous yet complex insights on the interactions between Indians and Whites during the mutual quest for indigenous perspectives. The short story suggests the depth of colonization on the indigenous mentality. On the other hand, “One Good Man” offers genuine representations of Native American struggles. Rather than fantastical, we are faced with very real issues of child-parent relationships, divorce, and the concept of home. The protagonist seeks to fill his void by attending to the people, events, and things closest and most familiar to him. Caring for an ailing parent and returning to the comforts of home (the “rez”) become significant acts. By restoring value in everyday actions, Alexie argues that cultural fulfillment can come from accomplishing seemingly ordinary duties rather than seeking extraordinary experiences. In the two short stories addressed, the characters seek cultural experiences to regain an ambiguous intangible part of themselves that they feel they have lost or never had to begin with. Alexie suggests that the protagonists are not really seeking cultural fulfillment; rather culture is the mechanism to regain a sense of self. While the characters purport to search for external love, they are really searching for self-love to feel whole. Alexie argues that self-love for the modern Native American cannot be achieved simply through an “authentic” Indian experience. Rather, self-love comes from exploring the duality of the Native American identity in the context of modern America, and in forging a sense of personal agency. Through The Toughest Indian in the World, Alexie offers a complex exploration of identity formation. Definitely worth a read!
Post Submitted By: Layhannara Tep
1. the point at which a plan or project is realized : the plans have come to fruition sooner than expected
2. (poetic/literary) the state or action of producing fruit
SYNONYMS: fulfillment, realization, actualization, materialization
While writing a fancy introduction or dramatic conclusion can be a boon to your paper, fancy opening or closing paragraphs are often a hindrance to the more important part of the paper: the body. Thus if you cannot think of anything flashy to start or end your paper you should just write a functional introduction or conclusion. What is a functional version of these paragraphs? Basically a functional one will contain the bare minimum aspects of introductions or conclusions which will serve its purpose and allow the reader to continue to what is important. Here are the minimum aspects you need for each kind of paragraph:
1) Declare the general topic you are writing about
2) Provide context as to why there is a thesis (or if it is a research paper why your paper is necessary) to the prompt
3) Present your thesis
1) Restate your thesis
2) Restate the main points made in your body paragraph
3) Reaffirm that you have proved your thesis
Post Submitted by: Jesse Chiang
“Bee in one’s bonnet”
A chronic preoccupation, often fanciful or eccentric: “My cousin has a bee in his bonnet about the rudeness of local cabdrivers; he’s written four letters to the editor on the subject.”
1. (esp. of a theory or argument) appearing neat and comprehensive only by ignoring the true complexities of an issue; superficial
- (of a person) having a superficial or simplistic knowledge or approach : a man of facile and shallow intellect.
2. (of success, esp. in sports) easily achieved; effortless : a facile victory
SYNONYMS: simplistic, superficial, oversimplified; effortless, easy, undemanding
cause (someone) to feel drained of energy or vitality; weaken
lacking in energy or vitality : the enervate slightness of his frail form.
SYNONYMS: exhaust, tire, fatigue, weary, wear out, devitalize
“Every dog has his day”
Even the lowest of us enjoys a moment of glory.
Do you like writing? Do you want to help other students discover their voice and potential through the writing process? If yes, apply to be a Writing & Creativity Counselor!
The Writing Success Program is hiring a Writing & Creativity Counselor for the Fall 2011-Spring 2010 Academic Year! Applications are due Friday June 17th at 12pm NOON, timestamped, to be dropped off at the Front Desk of 105 inside Student Activities Center. No exceptions, no extensions. Ask to drop off in WSP Director, Sahra Nguyen’s mailbox.
CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD AN APPLICATION!
Please email Sahra for questions: email@example.com
violate the prohibition or order of (a law, treaty, or code of conduct) : this would contravene the rule against hearsay.
SYNONYMS: break, breach, violate, infringe
“Any port in a storm”
In an emergency, we will accept help from any source and in any place, even from an unpleasant person.
Prompt: Why is it—to some—so controversial and unethical to eat animals? What arguments do Michael Pollan and Peter Singer bring up concerning the moral status of an animal? Do you think eating meat is justified? Do you think animals have rights? What is the vegetarian’s dilemma?
In Michael Pollan and Peter Singer’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma the authors address the topic of the ethic of eating animals and makes a claim that, fundamentally, eating meat is unethical. Pollan and Singer present a variety of arguments, one of which claims that the way when we eat meat we are “speciesist” whose definitions of what should and should not be eaten falter when we “marginal cases.” While Pollan and Singer bring up valid ethical considerations the fact of the matter is that human beings are distinct from animals, contrary to what Pollan and Singer believe, and therefore the ethics of eating meat should be determined by society and principles based off the equality of humans and animals.
Pollan and Singer bring up an interesting point when they claim that the decision of whether or not to eat meat boils down to either satisfying “gastrointestinal preferences” or causing animals to continually suffer. However there is a flaw to this argument. The assumption that eating meat is a “gastrointestinal preference” assumes a first-world setting with individuals whose diets can be dictated by choice rather than practicality or affordability. The fact of the matter is that in low-income communities getting to a mere grocery store to get adequate nutrients is already a challenge. Couple the difficulty getting nutrients with the demand that humans not eat meat for ethical considerations and those who are low-income are in a situation where the only way they can comply is to do damage to themselves nutritionally. However if animals are assumed to be equal to humans, as the authors of this book do, the issue of whether or not animals suffer or low-income individuals suffer a lower quality of life has an easy answer: animals should not suffer. However the assertion that humans and animals are equals is a flawed assumption, as human beings possess special qualities that differentiate humans from animals.
Human beings are distinct from animals because of two reasons: human potential and genetics. Despite the various arguments for animal and human equality, human potential grossly overwhelms any animal potential. Humans have created grand institutions to continually develop technology and acquire new information. Humans have found the ability to sustain large populations of human life (whether or not they choose to is a different question entirely) and have found the ability to destroy large populations of human life as well (hydrogen bombs). To say that animals could have created any of these technological advances would be a false assertion. To say that none of these advances matter would be undermining the very advancements that make human life (specifically, yours) even possible to begin with.
The authors then try to equate humans to animals by stating that the very qualities that we use to discount animals from being humans (ability to rationalize, speak, etc.) are very qualities that those with disabilities lack. Thus the authors claim that if we count those with disabilities as something humans do not eat, we should not eat animals as well. However this ignores the randomness of genetics. Human beings are fundamentally and genetically human despite the physiological outcome. Genetics are so fickle that to say that any human being definitely could not have been one of the “marginal cases” (those with some form of disabilities) is not a claim that anyone could realistically make. To have the great potential of human kind comes with the possibility of disabilities. Therefore to equate the characteristics of those with disabilities to the characteristics of animals would be to equate something that all humans share on some level (the possibility of having it at the very least) and would equate two fundamentally different potentials. Thus choosing between the health of a human being and the survival of animals becomes a much more difficult decision. To limit the quality of life of human beings to save animals would be playing god amongst people who neither asked for their condition nor for the moral imposition pegged to their attempts to obtain proper nutrition.
Despite the fact that eating meat is not unethical, animals should have rights. The way that animals are treated can be incredibly brutal and despite the fact that they are not humans they are still living beings and should be treated as such. Where to draw the line for animal rights is tough and should be left up to those who truly understand the issue and the nature of animals.
Post Submitted by: Jesse Chiang
the supposed faculty of perceiving things or events in the future or beyond normal sensory contact : she stared at the card as if she could contact its writer by clairvoyance.
SYNONYMS: ESP, extrasensory perception, sixth sense, psychic powers, second sight
“All roads lead to Rome”
All paths or activities lead to the center of things. This was literally true in the days of the Roman Empire, when all the empire’s roads radiated out from the capital city, Rome.
Perhaps it’s because I am taking my final political science theory course but I have once again chosen a political science text to recommend to all of you. This week’s Tuesday Title is Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes. From this influential text comes many ideas such as the social contract and the executive that the founding fathers of the United States used to construct the constitution. Whether or not you like politics it is important to understand the foundations of the government that you live in and the rationale behind the powers that exist.
Post Submitted by: Jesse Chiang
before the usual or expected time; early : next morning I was up betimes.
“Don’t cry over spilt milk”
It doesn’t do any good to be unhappy about something that has already happened or that can’t be helped.
Procrastination. Writing’s evil nemesis. Nothing good comes out of procrastination, no matter how you look at it. Pulling all nighters may get your paper finished, but at what price? Quality. By putting off writing papers to the last minute, writers jeopardize the quality of their work and enforces bad habits such as staying up late, drinking coffee, and turning in poorly done work.
So what can you do to help prevent turning in a last-minute paper? Set a fake deadline for yourself. Look at your syllabus, find out when all your papers are due, and set fake deadlines about a week a head of their due dates. Convince yourself that your paper is due on the 7th and not on the 14th and even do the whole all-nighter thing–procrastinating then is a lot less detrimental to your grade than procrastinating the night before the actual due date. You’ll even have a week to revise and review your paper with your TAs!
So set some fake deadlines. Your paper will thank you later.
Post submitted by: Crystal Maranan
cause to become confused : her brain was befogged with lack of sleep.