final essay questions

Final Essay Questions:

  1. Both Sherman Alexie and Alan Duff use semi-autobiographical frames to narrate the everyday lives of Indians and Maori living in the underbelly of their rich nations (the US and New Zealand).  In her article, “Historical Trauma in American Indian/Native Alaska Communities: A Multilevel Framework for Exploring Impacts on Individuals, Families, and Communities,” Teresa Evans-Campbell suggests that: “Historical trauma, the term used most often by scholars of AIAN trauma, is conceptualized as a collective complex trauma inflicted on a group of people who share a specific group identity or affiliation—ethnicity, nationality, and religious affiliation. It is the legacy of numerous traumatic events a community experiences over generations and encompasses the psychological and social responses to such events” (320).  Discuss Alexie and Duff’s portrayal of individual, family and community trauma within their narratives and their lives as a way to redefine indigenous lives and histories outside of the standard “victim” narratives that are offered in popular culture.
  2. Sherman Alexie and Alan Duff create complex characters in their novels to expose the harsh living conditions and destructive pasts of indigenous peoples in contemporary settler societies such as New Zealand and the United States. These characters evoke what Alexie calls “reservation realism.” Choose two characters (one from Duff and one from Alexie) and compare and contrast the characters (and the settings) as they help us understand “reservation realism.” Make sure to first define what you mean by “reservation realism” using both texts, class discussions and lecture. Be sure to give specific examples.


  1. Your essays are due into my office box in Wilson 111 on Wednesday May 4 @ 4:30 PM (the office will close, no late work accepted).
  2. The essays should be typed, double-spaced with your name, date and class name on the top.
  3. Your essay should answer the above questions using course readings, class lectures and discussions. You need to present a clear, cohesive, well thought out analysis.
  4. Provide in text citations ex: (Alexie, 174) or (Duff, 23).
  5. Edit your essays.

final essay exam

The final essay exam questions will be handed out in class on Monday April 25.

slides from Monday