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The Approximate Size of My Favorite Tumor - Essay Example

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This essay discusses “The Approximate Size of My Favorite Tumor,” Sherman Alexie. Some people maintain their sense of humor even in desperate situations. The author has described the reality of the husband-wife and family relationships and how a dreaded disease plays havoc…
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The Approximate Size of My Favorite Tumor
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"The Approximate Size of My Favorite Tumor"

Download file to see previous pages In “The Approximate Size of My Favorite Tumor,” Sherman Alexie portrays a character immersed in humor so to say, from the cradle to the grave and from the womb to the tomb! Jimmy Many Horses is an individual who owns problems galore to make his life miserable and humorous. His never-ending concerns are relationships, alcoholism, modern society versus traditional values and above all doomed lives. He regales the readers with his version of the history of his relationship with his wife, Norma. In the trials and tribulations of life, even when one is afflicted with the life-threatening disease like cancer, humor is the potential energy giver that lightens the burden of the painful and stressful hours and days of the patient, and those around him. My chosen aspect in this story is humor, humor, and more humor! That runs through each and every turn of the story. Detailed analysis and evidence has been provided in the ensuing paragraphs and at this stage, I need to make a special mention of the encounter of the couple with a policeman patrolling the highway and Sherman Alexie describes, “We watched him walk back to his cruiser, climb in, and drive off, breaking four or five laws as he flipped a U-turn, left 166 rubber, crossed the center line, broke the speed limit, and ran through a stop sign without lights and siren.” (5) Amazing observation! Jimmy struggles to come to terms with his alcohol addiction and terminal cancer that will carry him to the grave undoubtedly. Yet he is jovial and is unconcerned about his health concerns. He asserts with confidence, “Listen . . . if I stole 1,000 horses, I’d give you 501 of them.”(2) This man Jimmy is not an ordinary human being. He is willing to laugh in a near death situation and he goes on with his tantrums in all seriousness. Norma finds it difficult to put up with his willful laughter dispositions and leaves him temporarily to join the powwow circuit. Notwithstanding the abrupt separation, internally she intensely remembers the psychological bond with Jimmy and returns to him in his last days and by that time, she has ingrained something from his original asset of humor as she explains the significance of her return journey, in this meaningful composition, "Because someone needs to help you die the right way," she said. "And we both know that dying ain't something you ever have done before.” I had to agree with that." And maybe," she said, "because making fry bread and helping people die are the last two things Indians are good at." "Well," I said. "At least you're good at one of them." And we laughed. (6) Humor is contagious and Jimmy must have enjoyed the sparks of wit now seen in his wife. During the X-ray examination the tumor is identified and on Jimmy’s getting that information, he puts his stamp of humor and he offers its description by stating that "Well, I told her the doctor showed me my X-rays and my favorite tumor was just about the size of a baseball, shaped like one, too. Even had stitch marks."(1) But at the end of the story, Norma has come to terms with his sense of humor and their domestic dialogues attain a new dimension. In the middle of the story, Jimmy’s metaphorical remark steals the thunder and he candidly says, “Still, you have to realize that laughter saved Norma and me from pain, too. Humor was an antiseptic that cleaned the deepest of personal wounds (4).   ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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