Survey of Literature: Analysis and Interpretation
Western Governors University
When a person is perceived to be different or lacking in a quality that is important to a group of people, this person could be “othered”. Otherness is when a group of people point out the difference in another person and that person becomes ostracized for their differences. The individual that is being labeled as the other, often has characteristics such has political views, religion, gender and race. However, otherness can occur within that same scope of the above mentioned groups. My definition of the otherness is when a group of people label another person or group of people as being different to their perception of “normal”. Each group has their perception of normal and when somebody does not fit in that perception the person is then considered to be inferior thus causing otherness.
In my opinion, otherness is the gateway for bullying. The definition of bullying is the mistreatment of an individual or group of people to cause harm or to achieve some sort of power over them. In a schools, many children often form cliques, this by itself is not a bad thing however when these cliques modify their behavior to avoid hanging out or playing with another person because they perceive them to be different from their group, a problem can occur. Bullying often starts by identifying a person that is different from them and then criticizing them for being different.
C. This is what it means to say Phoenix, Arizona
In Sherman Alexie's “This is what it means to say Phoenix, Arizona” the character Victor finds out his father passed away. His father lived in Phoenix, Arizona and Victor needed to find a way to retrieve his remains as well as some of his personal belongings. The only problem is that Victor does not come from wealth and he is also financially poor.
Victor is having a hard time trying to figure out how he will be able to retrieve his father’s ashes and his belongings and struggles with the idea to ask for help. Being that Victor is Indian, he decides to ask the tribal counsel for financial assistance however the assistance they offer is not even enough to purchase a plane ticket to Arizona. Victor decides to take the money that is being offered by the counsel but is now stuck trying to figure out how to come up with what is needed to finish his journey.
Thomas Build-the-Fire, an old childhood friend of Victor, realizes that Victor is in need of assistance and offers to help him with his journey. However, Thomas has one condition, he wanted to go along with Victor to Arizona. Victor is a little reluctant because he and Thomas had grown apart, largely because Thomas was different. Thomas liked to tell stories and talk to himself. The community and Victor viewed Thomas as being different and odd thus Thomas was considered to be the “other”. Because Thomas was clearly portrayed by the author as being the “other” this story takes on a whole different dimension and offers the readers an insight how one man can view another man as being different just because of something so small as telling stories.
Sherman Alexie’s perspective on otherness is subtle. Character of the Victor and Thomas is very important in this story. Two men from the same reservation view life very differently. Victor and Thomas have known each other since childhood however when Thomas starts telling stories and acting weird he is out casted. Victor grows apart from Thomas and even fights him in a drunken rage. Thomas charter seems to be more involved with Indian culture and believes that his stories have meaning. During the journey to Arizona, both Victor and Thomas reconnect is some ways and Victor even apologizes to Thomas for beating him up. By the end of the story they part ways knowing that things will never go back to way it was when they were children but they have a better understanding of one