Fistfighting "Super Injun". Reinscribing Native American Literature in the English Classroom
This thesis examines ways in which Native Americans are portrayed in literature by analyzing two of Sherman Alexie's short stories "This is What it Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona", and "Because my Father Always Said he Was the only Indian Who Saw Jimi Hendrix Play "The Star-Spangled Banner" at Woodstock", as well as the movies "Pocahontas" (1995) and "Smoke Signals" (Alexie, 1998). The Native American/Indigenous methodology presented, provides insights into Native American culture that is necessary to see the nuances and layers of meaning in these narratives. The thesis discusses internalized colonization, Spivak's idea of the "Other", and DuBois' concept of a "double-consciousness" in relation to identity. Through my analysis it becomes evident that Pocahontas presents both a somewhat uniform and stereotypical portrayal of Native Americans, but also that it includes layers of depth to some of the characters. The thesis presents Alexie's narratives as ridden with dark humour, sarcasm and hyperboles which he has used to deconstruct the already existing stereotypes of Natives. In the analysis, we see that they work as revisionist history by re-membering the past. Throughout, the thesis presents opportunities, advice and it advocates teaching Native American literature in the English classroom. Chapter 5 addresses didactics, more specifically, teaching from a global and multicultural perspective. It covers interconnected aspects of teaching, in general, that are specifically relevant to teaching the narratives presented. These aspects are teaching humour, controversial topics, "the danger of a single story", short stories, and teaching movies as narratives. In sum, the thesis aims to reinscribe Native American literature in the English classroom.
PublisherUiT Norges arktiske universitet
UiT The Arctic University of Norway
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