Sherman Alexie’s “How to Write the Great American Indian Novel”

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Last Updated on September 16, 2022

The book is written in free verse without rhymes and contains forty-two lines. The lines are grouped into twenty-one couplets. The storyline is paced with dramatic action and the readers are transported to a different place. It is also an excellent example of a Native American heroine and her role in the story. The book is highly recommended for aspiring writers.

Sherman alexie’s writing style

While most readers are likely to agree that the title of “The Color Purple” is a misnomer, some readers may have trouble with the title. That’s because the book contains many hints that are not directly addressed in the title. For example, one of the first lines of the novel is a list of the most common character traits. In the last line, Alexie uses the word “tragic” to refer to a certain character. While this may make the reader laugh, the author is trying to point out that all Indians must be pitied.

Alexie was born to Salish Indian parents and suffered from congenital hydrocephalus. As a young child, he underwent surgery that resulted in severe side effects. His maternal grandmother, a Spokane chief and spiritual leader, helped him overcome these challenges by teaching him to read. Although he could not compete in sports, he cultivated his love of literature. Moreover, he attended an all-white high school. Nevertheless, he excelled in the class and was named class president.

Another feature of Alexie’s writing style is his elaboration of Native American culture, mentality, and emotions. Many of the stereotypes about Native Americans were derived from mass media productions, and Alexie uses this to highlight the darker aspects of Indian life. The realism of Alexie’s writing style for the great American Indian novel sets it apart from other Native writing.

The eloquent language in Alexie’s book is a powerful tool for social commentary. Several recent scandals have shaken the foundation of the Church, and priests and pedophiles have been accused of abuse. But the great American Indian novel also highlights the abuse of children by religious boarding schools. Native American children were forced to conform to missionaries’ ideals, which included removing their languages and cultures.

While the title may suggest a “simple” or “traditional” Indian novel, the fact that Alexie also uses Native American stereotypes in the book’s plot makes it more intriguing. Alexie is not just an academic or a novelist, but a poet and an essayist, and his work reflects his experiences on the reservation. While many readers may not identify with the characters in the book, Alexie uses them as a way to explore broader issues in society.

Character traits

Traditionally, characters in an American Indian novel have to be Indians. While many of these characters are beautiful and solitary, some have tragic features. Others, such as the white hero who falls in love with an Indian woman, are mixed-race or indigenous and from a culture dominated by horsemen. This archetype has emerged as the result of colonization in the Americas. For this reason, many Native American characters in novels are portrayed as horsemen or other loners. These types of characters are also often withdrawn and prone to secrets, which are revealed slowly by the white counterpart.

In addition to these characteristics, Alexie has introduced new types of Indians. Sherman Alexie’s great American Indian novel has created a new type of Indian. She says that an Indian man must be half-Indian and half-white and must be a “savage.” The character must also be espoused to a white man, who is often described as melodramatic.

As the speaker, Alexie argues that great American Indian novels should have certain characteristics. The author forces the reader to think about the cultural and racial stereotypes that surround Indian culture. Similarly, the reader must consider the roles played by Indian women in fiction. The reader is forced to reflect on the role of women in Indian literature and the treatment they receive in society.

Besides being an excellent writer, Alexie is a notable contemporary native American. Born on an Indian reservation in Welpinit, Washington state, Sherman Alexie was diagnosed with hydrocephalic disease at birth. Despite the condition of his brain, he learned to read by age three and enjoyed reading “The Grapes of Wrath” by the age of five. He underwent brain surgery at age six and has been an inspiration to Native American writers for decades.

Throughout the novel, Alexie draws attention to three major problems in the Native American community. For example, many modern-day Native Americans have lost their culture and are mixed with non-Native people. Many are mixed-bloods and are addicted to alcohol. Moreover, Alexie uses turnabout stereotypes to make readers laugh. Lastly, Alexie shows that natives face serious problems if they are treated as inferior citizens.


In Sherman Alexie’s “How to Write the Great American Indian Novel,” she shows us the enigmatic, solitary interior female Indian. Although white people have historically wanted to be part of the Native American culture, the portrayal of an interior Indian woman is largely problematic. Sherman Alexie has created an enigmatic, heroic figure in a woman who is both half-Indian and white.

As the story begins, Alexie uses poetic language, juxtaposing positive and negative images. In one passage, he describes the savage nature of Indian men as “embarrassingly tragic.” He also uses the word “yet” to show that not all Indians must be pityable. The final couplet of the poem is equally bitter, sarcastic, and funny.

Alexie makes some of her points through social commentary. Recent scandals involving clergy and other pedophiles have shook the foundation of the Church all over the world. Sherman Alexie is specifically referring to the savage abuse of Indian children. Missionaries forced Native American children to adopt missionary ideals, including giving up their language and cultures.

The poem itself is a satire. Although it is written in free verse, it is a clever play on the idea of a great American novel. Ultimately, the term “great” can refer to a fictional or hypothetical work of literature, such as the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. It’s hard to define the perfect novel, but Alexie’s “How to Write the Great American Indian Novel” is a brilliant example of satire and irony.

While Sherman Alexie’s “How to Write the Great American Indian Novel” may be aimed at an eminently white reading audience, it nonetheless exposes a problematic stereotype about American Indians. In fact, it forces readers to consider how often stereotypes about American Indians are perpetuated in the media, and it makes the reader wonder if such a stereotype is truly true.

Moreover, Alexie’s use of stereotypes persists throughout the novel. While Alexie explicitly states that the character must be Indian and half-white, she also specifies that he must be solitary and be able to ride a horse. She even uses the term “half-breed” in the novel to describe an unintelligent half-breed, despite the novel’s fictionality.

Native American heroine

The plot of The Great America Indian Novel follows the story of a wife and mother of teenage boys, who grew up on a reservation in Spokane, Washington. She goes out for a date one night and, while waiting for a waiter, a man who comes into the restaurant shouts something in a foreign language. Later, she learns that this man is an educated PHD who wants to help the indigenous peoples of the area.

In the novel, Etta’s character questions the anthropologist’s knowledge of the oral tradition, and scoffs at his naivete. She also implies that the Native sources may not be reliable. This scene makes the interviewer question the nature of truth and fiction. That is one of the most effective aspects of Alexie’s novel.

Despite living on the reservation, she is proud of her culture. She studies the Native language, including the art of writing. She also spends time with her grandfather, who teaches her the language of her people. She aspires to join the Great Race, and her wolf and blue-eyed wolf bring new pride to her community. This novel is a wonderful read about the Native American experience.

Lillian was a tough woman, sewing famous quilts to support her family. She also participated in tribal politics and was a formidable powwow dancer. Her story reveals the many contradictions of American society. Although her stories are realistic, Alexie has also made her characters a bit funny. While she is often a bit eccentric, she is not a bad writer.

“The Great American Indian Novel” has been a highly-anticipated read by critics and fans alike. It has earned a place among the best books of all time. One of Alexie’s most controversial books, it has been met with a range of reactions, from negative reviews to hilarity from critics. The Native American heroine of the novel has been praised by critics and readers alike, and many are looking forward to the sequel.

About The Author

Mindy Vu is a part time shoe model and professional mum. She loves to cook and has been proclaimed the best cook in the world by her friends and family. She adores her pet dog Twinkie, and is happily married to her books.