Two Reservations One Story
With Native Americans being the first inhabitants of North America, many people often question what traditions they have created on their own, before the ideas of settlers. When taking a look into their interesting beliefs, it is obvious to see an intricate basis on animals and spirits that guide their lives. Even their society had a special way of doing things, including gender roles of both men and women. There are many customs that have seemed odd to the average American throughout the centuries, but Native Americans found these a normal way of life. The lifestyles of Native Americans were unique, from hunting animals to tanning buffalo hides. Gender was also a major factor in the duties that were expected. Native American women had some power over men, they were restricted to maintain their roles and duties in their tribe, and were expected to continue the spiritual ways of Native American life.
Two sisters Checkers and Chess (Alexie) are very similar to the sisters Elsie and Susan (Power) especially due to the fact that both their fathers are victims of alcohol. Sherman Alexie’s
Reservation Blues explores how loss through death and alcoholism in the family, affect Chess and Checkers Warm Water’s lives. The sisters had a tragic childhood, suffering from the fatality of their brother and mother, and their father’s alcoholism. In regards to this theme, the sisters share similarities as they endure through their childhood, develop contrarities while attempting to come to terms with their pain and loss, and reflect both resemblances and differences in their
choice of men. Affected by the same misfortunes, Chess and Checkers live through their childhood in similar ways; absorbing themselves in music, keep to themselves, and escaping their home. The Warm
Water sisters both absorbed themselves in music in order to forget about their loss. One example of this is their involvement in the Church, which can be seen through one of their flashbacks.
Singing music as part of this choir made them feel proud and safe it was a moment where they could take their minds off their sorrows. His absorption of music created a similar way of dealing with their loss. Rather than playing with other friends, Chess and Checkers spent most of their time together. “We mostly kept to ourselves" (66). They did this because they did not want to let new people into their lives. This helped them get over their loss, especially the after the death of their brother. Also as children, the sisters escaped their home were their miserable memories that haunted them. "We’d wake up before our parents and be out the door into the trees and hills.
We’d play outside all day, […] and only come home when it got too cold and dark” (66). They did this because they wanted to get away from their house, where all their problems were. As they left their house to go to the hills, they left their sadness of the death of their brother behind.
This shows a similar approach to dealing with the loss of their brother. Spending extensive time together, Chess and Checkers grew up and got through their childhood in practically identical ways. As they grew older though, the Warm Waters started to go in different directions. Despite the fact that the sisters lived together and did practically everything together, Chess and
Checkers both dealt with their losses later in life very differently, which is resulted in
significantly different outcomes. Chess became more open about the death of her brother and mother and her father alcoholism. For example, when she met Thomas BuildsTheFire, she told him all about her past, and was able to get the weight of her past off her shoulders. With this, she was then able, with the listening support of Thomas, to slightly grow over her losses.
Checkers, on the other hand, continued to keep to