By using rhetoric, Sherman Alexie argues that by basically reading or making an effort to learn more he will be a role model for those who do live in reservations to want more out of life and to break out of the stereotypes. After reading the essay I think Alexie used a lot of pathos to draw the reader’s attention for example he says “A little Indian boy teaches himself to read at an early age and advances quickly.
He reads Grapes of Wrath in kindergarten when other children are struggling through Dick and Jane. If he’d been anything but an Indian boy living on the reservation, he might have been called a prodigy” (Alexie, 1997). By telling us about this moment in his life he want us the reader to understand that a Native American is not suppose to be an successful or educated individual it is not “the norm” and these are some of the challenges he faced as a Native American.
Alexie did not use to much of Logos I assume it is because to convey his emotions to the reader and I had to re-read this essay a number of times to figure out where he might of used logos because I had a hard time telling how to spot it, I understand its logic and to me the whole essay is logical but I am thinking it has to deal more with a sort of… “Call to action” type of logic like did Alexie’s hard work and perseverance influence others in his situation to want more or do more or follow in his footsteps. I visit schools as often as possible. The Indian kids crowd the classroom. Many are writing their own poems, short stories, and novels. They have read my books. They have read many other books. They look at me with bright eyes and arrogant wonder. They are trying to save their lives. Then there are the sullen and already defeated Indian kids who sit in the back rows and ignore me with theatrical precision. The pages of their notebooks are empty.
They carry neither pencil nor pen. They stare out the window/ they refuse and resist” (Alexie, 1997). Here I think he conveys logos because it’s only logical to think and know that not everyone is going to listen or apply themselves that’s life and while it seems to break his spirit that those select few are falling into the stereotypes there is only so much he can do but it is ultimately up to the individual themselves to want to change and want more out of life.
I had a hard time understanding the point of Ethos which is credibility, but to me I think ethos in this particular essay is more like vulnerability because in the first paragraph he talks about how poor his family was “We were poor by most standards, but one of my parents usually managed to find some minimum-wage job or another, which made us middle-class by reservation standards. I had a brother and three sisters.
We lived on a combination of irregular paychecks, hope, fear, and government surplus food” (Alexie, 1997), he made himself vulnerable by exposing a part of his life that some people would have a hard time admitting due to embarrassment and because he is so open and shares this with us not only does it make his vulnerable but that gives way to credibility because no one would talk openly and earnestly about being poor and struggling. I think Alexie’s use of rhetorical concepts is really good because he was able to keep the reader’s attention.
He is also trying to spread a positive message to Native Americans that are still living on Reservations as well as those who are not as fortunate as some other people that they do not have to live within the stereotypes that are associated with them, all it takes is determination, a positive attitude and hard work, sadly that is cheesy or cliche but in this case it is really true. My favorite line is where he says “Books, I say to them. Books, I say. I throw my weight against their locked doors he door holds. I am smart.