Sherman Alexie: Overcoming Adversity Through Literature

Categories: Sherman Alexie

Research from sources like Encyclopaedia Britannica Online, Academic Search Complete, and class discussions such as "Superman and Me" provided insight into Sherman Alexie's biography. Born on October 7, 1966, on the Spokane Indian Reservation in Washington, Alexie overcame challenges like alcoholism, crime, and drugs in his upbringing. Despite his father's alcoholism and his own health issues due to hydrocephalus, he found comfort in reading. By undergoing successful surgery for his condition and immersing himself in books, Alexie demonstrated how determination can conquer adversity.

His story emphasizes the importance of persistence and hard work in achieving success against all odds.

Despite facing challenges and teasing at the reservation school, Alexie persevered, dedicating himself to reading during his childhood. Referred to as "The Globe" due to infant hydrocephalus, he remained focused on reading despite being excluded from certain activities. This dedication ultimately leads to fulfillment and balance in his life (Lynn 197-198). Sarah Quirk notes that Alexie blends elements of popular culture, Indian spirituality, and the struggles of life on a poverty-stricken reservation in crafting his characters and their world.

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Through his writing, Alexie aims to evoke sadness in the reader's mind using humor, literature, and cultural references as tools.

Alexie utilized humor in his narrative to express admiration, comprehension, and compassion towards readers. His writing is shaped by a range of influences extending beyond Indigenous modern styles, centering on his own background as a Native American. Across his assortment of poems and short stories, Alexie provides a glimpse into present-day reservation life, eliciting sympathy for Native Americans in spite of the difficulties they encounter.

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Despite facing hurdles, Alexie achieved academic success, emerging as both a basketball standout and student body president at Reardan High School before excelling at Jesuit University in 1985.

After excelling in academics, Sherman Alexie transitioned to Washington State University in 1987, where he delved into poetry and short fiction. Through perseverance and determination, he faced challenges head-on without giving up easily, believing this was crucial for success. His poetry collection "The Business of Fancydancing" was published in Hanging Loose magazine in 1990, earning him praise from The New York Times as a major lyric voice. Despite struggles with alcoholism early on, Alexie found solace and motivation through his writing, leading to numerous accolades and grants. Reflecting on his journey as a Native American writer, he emphasized how overcoming obstacles ultimately led to his success - likening writing to a high-maintenance relationship that requires constant dedication.Every day, I am engaged in activities such as reading, writing, editing, and thinking. Alexie's dedication has resulted in various accolades and financial support, including the PEN/Faulkner Award for War Dances in 2009 and the 2010 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers’ Circle of the Americas. In his essay "Superman and me," Alexie discusses the lack of instruction on writing poetry, short stories, or novels within the reservation school system.

Exploring new options in reading and writing, as suggested by Sherman (Sherman 112), can potentially save lives. Personally, I believe that delving into different reading options can greatly benefit me by increasing my knowledge. Sherman Alexie's own experience highlights the unexpected path that led him to become a successful writer, showing how education can play a significant role in saving lives. By dedicating time and effort to education, individuals can greatly benefit from the wealth of knowledge it provides. Through research on Sherman's literary works, I am able to gain new perspectives on his challenging and rich writing. By understanding the dedication and hard work Sherman put into his career, I am able to appreciate his accomplishments even more. By following steps such as determining research objectives, familiarizing myself with the topic, utilizing library resources, analyzing and organizing information, and properly citing sources, I have enhanced my understanding of different topics, improved my credentials, developed critical thinking skills, and honed my writing style. The process of continuous research allows me to constantly enhance my knowledge and credibility.

Works Cited

  1. McNally, Joel. "Sherman Alexie." Writer (Kalmbach Publishing Co.) 114.6 (2001): 28.
  2. Academic Search Complete. Web. 19 Feb. 2014.
  3. Cline, Lynn. "About Sherman Alexie." Ploughshares 26.4 (2000): 197.
  4. Academic Search Complete. Web. 19 Feb. 2014.
  5. Quirk, Sarah. Dictionary of Literary Biography.278. American Novelists since World War II, Seventh Series. Detroit: Gale Group,2003 Grassian, Daniel. “Sherman Alexie." Encyclopaedia Britannica. Encyclopaedia Britannica Online Academic Edition. Encyclopaedia Britannica Inc., 2014. Web. 19 Feb. 2014.
Updated: Feb 21, 2024
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Sherman Alexie: Overcoming Adversity Through Literature. (2016, Mar 07). Retrieved from

Sherman Alexie: Overcoming Adversity Through Literature essay
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