The Native American Spirit Quest Of A Half Indian Foster Child By Sherman Alexie

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Sherman Alexie’s novel Flight explores the Native American spirit quest of a half Indian foster child. Alexie brilliantly invites readers into the mind of a cynical fifteen-year-old who calls himself Zits. Zits uses humor, violence, and shock value to cope with how he has been treated by his absent father and the foster system. Zits’ uses his vocabulary as a defense mechanism which reveals how comfortable he feels in various situations. The following paragraphs analyze how Zits’ speech patterns provide insight to how he feels about certain characters and situations. Zits uses a distinctive naming system when he is unaware of a character’s real name. Zits’ method of naming characters reveals how comfortable he is talking about them. He bases most of his names on appearance. For instance, Zits sees a young Indian boy while he is in the body of Gus and he observes that the Indian “can’t be more than five years old” and “he holds a bow” (pg. 59). Zits then refers to this character as “Bow Boy” for the remainder of the book (pg. 59). Zits uses this method for naming almost every character he meets. Characters that he likes are given names such as “Small Saint” while characters he feels anger toward often remain unnamed (pg. 61). For example, Zits’ mother, father and grandfather are never mentioned by name. Zits’ method of naming also reveals how he feels about himself. “I’m ashamed that I look like a bag of zits tied to a broomstick” (pg. 9). Therefore, his name reveals how he

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