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Ten Little Indians Essay

The book, “Ten Little Indians”, by author Sherman Alexie, is a collection of fictional short stories that are all fascinating and enthralling. All the characters in this book are full of depth, but there are two that stand out to me. One of those characters is William from the story, “Flight Patterns”, and the other is the character David from the story, “Do You Know Where I Am”. I find both these characters as very 3-dimensional and interesting. They both have their good and bad traits, they both have reasons that make them particularly undesirable, and they both have something that deeply troubles them that shapes the story.

William is a businessman who, despite the pleas of his family, has to go on a business trip. It turns out he does this a lot, but despite this seems to still loves his family very much. He tells the reader how he does fifty push-ups and sit-ups every single morning. That shows that he also cares about his health. He also states how he sleeps on the couch every night for his alarm doesn’t wake his wife and child in the mornings. He also takes his showers in the basement and kisses them both goodbye whilst trying to let them sleep.

This is another example of how much he cares for his family. Later on in the story he confesses that he is very wary of people of color. This is due to the bombings of 9/11 which was a year before the time setting of the story. At the same time he is quick to profile people including himself. At first he makes his cabbie out to be from Africa due to his accent, and he describes himself as a long-haired Mexican even though he is Indian. Later on in the story, he seems to get put on a guilt trip by the cabbie and his story.

The fact that he got conned like that shows that he is gullible, but at the same time it shows the love that he still has for his family. David is the second character that stood out. He was a student at a university and would quote various poems along with his girlfriend. This shows that he is very intelligent and well spoken. He also is prideful, and it shows when he says things like, “We are Native American royalty” (Alexie 151). The whole beginning tone of the story shows that he is in love with his girlfriend Sharon, but then it shows how much of a bad guy he is.

The story goes on to tell how the couple finds a hurt cat that turns out has been missing for a month, and when they return said cat back to its owners he takes all the credit for rescuing it right in front of Sharon who was the one that did all this work. This shows how his pride turned him into a liar. Later in the story his wife confesses that she cheated on him and he takes it in stride. Then later on when Sharon is on her deathbed, he seems to not even acknowledge it and still confesses that he loves her. There are a few things that leave the characters undesirable. Case in point, William is way to racist.

Just because the people who committed the tragedy of 9/11 happened to be brown doesn’t mean that he should profile and be afraid of other people of color. Also he his way to gullible, he believes the cabbie’s story even though it is severely far-fetched, yet even though he is on the fence about the story being true, he still gives the driver a big tip. Also there is the way that he leaves his daughter crying at the beginning of the story. He should have at least tried to console her. David leaves even more reasons for a person to not like him. The biggest and most obvious reason is that he is a liar.

Nobody likes a liar, especially when they lie about something that had no reason to lie about. Also the fact that he thinks he is so much better than everyone just because he is smarter than most people and because he can recite Shakespeare is really annoying. Lastly, the two characters personalities really shape the two stories. In “Flight Patterns”, William’s guilt and naivety make the readers unsure whether the cabbies story is true or not. In “Do You Know Where I Am”, David’s love of his wife makes you go through the heart-wrenching situation that David himself has to go through.

These two characters are some of the best written that I have ever read. Not only were they deep and complex, but they were also relatable and made you as a reader want to continue in their lives. They both have their good and bad traits, they both have reasons that make them particularly undesirable, and they both have something that deeply troubles them that shapes the story, and this makes one ponder something. If faced with the same situations, would you have made different choices from the ones that the characters themselves made, and do you think that they made the wrong choices given their circumstances and pasts?


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