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Between Stereotypes and Resistance: The Politics of Identity in Sherman Alexie’s The Toughest Indian in the World

  • 인문논총
  • 2018, 45(), pp.3-18
  • DOI : 10.33638/JHS.45.1
  • Publisher : Institute for Human studies, Kyungnam University
  • Research Area : Humanities > Other Humanities
  • Received : January 14, 2018
  • Accepted : February 19, 2018
  • Published : February 28, 2018

Kim, Seonghoon 1

1세종대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This paper aims at demonstrating that the portraits of contemporary American Indians in his works resist the fossilized and stereotypical images of Indians, and even go beyond the ethnical boundaries set by ‘traditional’ American Indian literature. After sketching out the lines of criticism on seemingly stereotypical characters by some American Indian writers and scholars, this paper examines how the Spokane writer engages with the controversial idea of ‘Indian’ and ‘Indianness’ in his fiction, especially in The Toughest Indian in the World (2000). As this paper proposes, Alexie’s unflinchingly bold representation of new, unexpected Indian characters informs his serious quest for Indian identity. It should be also considered as a literary strategy because they illustrate ways of resisting any easy definitions or colonial labels of contemporary Native people in the US. For example, Etta Joseph in “Dear John Wayne” is subversive in that her story twists a colonial relationship between a white man and an ‘Indian princess.’

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