Thursday, February 22, 2007

Internal Angst leads to External Change

In Alexie’s Assimilation, the main character seemed to feel trapped in her life and seeking dramatic change. She seemed frantic for change to happen immediately, and took drastic steps to influence it. She did this haphazardly, not completely analyzing the reasoning behind her actions. She longed to sleep with an Indian man, and that was all that she knew. She was not concerned of anything other than this, this would solve her aching desires because it was what she did not have. She had married a man who was white, and this was what she thought may be the root of her issue.
But when she found an Indian man, and attempted to use him as a catalyst, she was unimpressed and unchanged. She told herself that she hated him like she hated her husband. She found no solace from him, until she was with her husband and then she dreamt of him in a different light. The Indian man was sacred when she was not with him because he was not white and not her husband. He was nothing to her except a tangible representation of the ideal conception of what could be different in her life. It was not until the couple were stopped on the bridge and the woman was left alone without her husband that she expressed love for him. This love was partially based on familiarity and partially on respect. I believe that this experience did not cause her to change, but rather to become aware of the internal conflict that fueled her angst if only for a moment. She ended up in the same place that the story began, married to her very white and familiar husband. But she found comfort in that rather than confinement.
This story is very similar to Serros’ I Know What You Did Last Summer. The main character in this book also began the story seeking change. Her expectations were also high in regard to the experience that she was seeking. Her experience happen slower and more gradually than the woman in the previously discussed story, but similar trends are very apparent. She slowly realized that she was unfulfilled and disappointed and that she was not getting what she had expected. The girl grew weary quickly of the entire trip and sought more change. In the end she too ended up where she had begun. She was still searching and expecting her inner angst to be solved by external change.

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