Analysis Of ' Flight Patterns ' By Sherman Alexie

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Reconciling Multiple Identities When one considers one 's place in the world, it may be tempting to claim a single status to explain one 's thoughts and actions. For instance, it is far easier to claim nationality as the reason behind one 's beliefs about oneself and others. However, it is not one characteristic or experience that makes a person. This is especially true for individuals who are actively members of multiple societies, such as ethnic minorities. The quest for a reconciliation of multiple identities is at the heart of Sherman Alexie 's short story, “Flight Patterns.” William Loman is a man struggling with his identity not only as a husband and father, but also as a member of the Spokane Nation, the American Nation, and greater humanity. In the New York Times article “Without Reservation,” Jess Row writes that Sherman Alexie “peoples his fiction with characters who refuse to disguise or compromise their 'Indianness, ' even if they can 't quite define what Indianness means.” William Loman, the protagonist of Alexie 's short story “Flight Patterns,” exemplifies this statement. Immediately after being introduced to William, the reader is told that “[h]e didn 't want to choose between Ernie Hemingway and the Spokane tribal elders. . . . [He] wanted all of it” (Alexie 54). From this passage, it is evident that William identifies just as strongly as a Spokane Indian as he does an American citizen. He not only embraces his tribal heritage, but the culture of the

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