Contact Us
Sign In / Sign Up for FREE
Go to advanced search...

Sherman Alexie's The Approximate Size of my Favourite Tumour - Essay Example

Comments (1) Cite this document
Subject: English Literature (Classic and Modern) Date: Topic: Sherman Alexie's "The Approximate Size of my Favourite Tumour" Title: Humor Enthralls One and All Introduction Sherman Alexie is not the spokesperson for social or political issues…
Download free paperFile format: .doc, available for editing
GRAB THE BEST PAPER97.2% of users find it useful
Sherman Alexies The Approximate Size of my Favourite Tumour
Read TextPreview

Extract of sample "Sherman Alexie's The Approximate Size of my Favourite Tumour"

English Literature ic and Modern) Topic: Sherman Alexie's "The Approximate Size of my Favourite Tumour" Title: Humor Enthralls One and All Introduction Sherman Alexie is not the spokesperson for social or political issues. He does not speak for the people of the Indian Community to which he belongs like a politician or a social reformer. Nevertheless, he has his own style to provide rare insights and noteworthy reflections on what it means to be an American Indian, in the modern world. He is creative and his figurative language is subject-related. In the story, “The Approximate Size of My Favourite Tumour”, the writer does not preach, but in his masterly style throws light on the cultural traits of the American Indians and airs views without being didactic. Humor, satire and irony are the literary elements used to illustrate the theme of family relationships in trying circumstances. The story is suffused with irony, satire and subtle humor, social as well as political. The author lets the readers know how satire and humor can be the literary tools to expose current social issues. His area of interests are not the Kings and Commanders but the daily lives of Native Americans and how the political and social issues that impact their lives. Through the capsules of satire and humor, he sends the important message to readers. Humor is the benevolent weapon with Jimmy to work through the pain. On many occasions, the truth behind the humor is awful and torments the hearts of the reader. He does it purposefully to enable the readers to do introspection and re-examine their societal values. Jimmy makes generous use of humor to keep cordial relationship with his wife in home-surroundings and to maintain social connections with the people around him. Terminal cancer is not an ordinary disease. Jimmy awaits certain death and yet he sports with its expected arrival. He sails through the relationship with his typical sense humor, and states, “Listen, if I stole 1,000 horses, I'd give you 501 of them.” (2) He converts his private suffering into enjoyment with verbal duals with his wife. Humor in this particular story initially breaks and then re-builds relationships. The other thematic issues elucidated in the story are the assault of the materialistic civilization on the traditional values, alcoholism and the lives that have no hope of survival. Jimmy Many Horses recounts the details of his relationship with his wife Norma, whom he meets for the first time at the Powwow Tavern. He has to grapple simultaneously with triple private tragedies, his problematic relationship with Norma, his alcohol addiction and the life-threatening disease, cancer. Human psychology works simultaneously in several directions. Norma is an extremely worried as she visualizes the shadows of the approaching death of her husband. Jimmy’s humorous repartees go beyond her tolerable limits. In such a grim situation, instead of being cynical, Jimmy explodes with humor and Norma is unable to cope up with this sort of disposition, suspends her relationship with him temporarily to revert back on the powwow circuit. But her internal turmoil does not allow her to remain separated from him for long and she returns to be with Jimmy in his last days. By now the contagious disease of Jimmy’s humor seems to have caught up with her and she justifies her return and remarks, "Because someone needs to help you die the right way," she said. "And we both know that dying ain't something you ever 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) Jimmy does not the miss the opportunity to celebrate this reunion with his typical remarks, “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). Their reunion is one of the metamorphic points of the story and shows the depth of the delicate husband-wife relationship. An interesting example is given as to how rules and regulations for governance of the society are flouted by the controlling authorities. Jimmy and Norma are caught in a traffic rule violation situation. They had an argument with a policeman patrolling the highway and when the issue is settled, the policeman reverts to his job. Sherman Alexie describes that incident, “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) The other social problem highlighted by the author is how dreaded diseases like cancer are rampart amongst the Indian Americans. During the X ray examination, the tumor is identified and on Jimmy’s getting the information, he puts his stamp of humor and says "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) Is there an undercurrent of fear, whether the courage exhibited by Jimmy is a facade for his latent fear? Is he trying to shield of humor to resist the demon of death? Internally, in the corner of his mind, he does feel helpless to challenge the advancing death and observes tension-ridden Norma in a no-win situation. He realizes that his days are numbered and he cuts jokes to disengage himself from the thought of death and in that state of the mind gives confusing reactions on hearing the news of death of his mother-in-law which further complicates his relationship with Norma. She retorts, “Oh, Jimmy," she said, talking through tears. "I can't believe I just said thank you to that guy," I said. "What does that mean? Thank you that you told me that my mother-in-law is dead? "(4) Jimmy experiences pain both at the physical and psychic levels and even his jokes turn incoherent. Reunion of Norma in the end is a touching event in the life of the couple. She is back at home to witness the final innings of the endurance test of Jimmy. The author describes the poignant situation thus: “Honey," she said. "I've been gone so long and I missed you so much. But now I'm back. Where I belong."(6) The author gives the hint that the end of Jimmy is nearing and he is running the final lap of the race of his life. Conclusion In “The Approximate Size of My Favorite Tumor”, the writer does not preach, but in his masterly style throws light on the cultural traits of the American Indians and airs his views without being didactic. Humor, satire and irony are the literary elements used to illustrate the theme of family relationships in trying circumstances. Humor runs through the entire story and in all situations. The author has described the reality of the husband-wife and family relationships and how a dreaded disease impacts their lives. The strategy of satire and irony adopted by the author work well throughout the story and the level of detachment achieved by him for portraying the various characters and for the progression of the story is commendable. Works Cited Alexie, Sherman. Story: The Approximate Size of My Favorite Tumor.” Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat - Quick View Read More
Cite this document
  • APA
  • MLA
(“Sherman Alexie's The Approximate Size of my Favourite Tumour Essay”, n.d.)
Retrieved from
(Sherman Alexie'S The Approximate Size of My Favourite Tumour Essay)
“Sherman Alexie'S The Approximate Size of My Favourite Tumour Essay”, n.d.
  • Cited: 2 times
Comments (1)
Click to create a comment or rate a document
jsauer added comment 1 year ago
Student rated this paper as
This document saved me today. I liked the style. It was very useful for my literature course.

CHECK THESE SAMPLES OF Sherman Alexie's The Approximate Size of my Favourite Tumour

My Reflections on Leadership Theories and My Leadership Development

Bacal (2000) points out that it is during a time of implementation of change that the levels of uncertainty are highest and that is the time when effective leadership is all the more important. 

Globalization has mandated the amalgamation of cultures, highlighting the need for sensitivity to the cultural norms of other countries. The Management Style of the leader of an organization is likely to affect the degree to which it achieves productivity when working in an international climate. In today’s global, competitive framework, changes are a constant feature. As more companies are becoming multinational and expanding their operations, they become increasingly subject to unknown world influences that may infl...
14 Pages(3500 words)Essay

My Personal Development Planning

It also helps to define the appropriate development to meet those perceived needs. Scheduling and timing are important but cannot be too regimented.” (Personal Development Planning time management).

Time is one of the most essential elements of human life and its proper management is required for the personal development of human beings. Time management has been defined in different ways and a good understanding of the concept may be arrived at from the following definitions. “Time management is a set of principles, practices, skills, tools, and systems that work together to help you get more value out of your time with the aim of improving the quality of your life.” (Definition of Time Management. 200...
9 Pages(2250 words)Case Study

S&T Debt Factors

The agreement contains a credit default contracts that include credit default swaps, default index contracts, credit default options, and credit default basket options. One can use these as part of the mechanism that is collateralized by debt obligations. The goal should be to establish a price for a given risk and controlling credit based on risk. The credit can be allowed by minimization of risk. Credit controllers should develop versatile tools that transfer risk away from a lender’s balance sheet.
d) With reference to the proposed debt counseling business, illustrate and explain exactly how you would organize the debt counseling operation, taking particular care to explain how and when you would receive payment for...
6 Pages(1500 words)Case Study

My Papas Waltz by Theodore Roethke

...My Papa’s Waltz Dana Berg Kristin Wanderlingh WRT-201-097WB Spring 2008 This piece of literature that I have chosen to discuss in my paper is the touching poem titled “My Papa’s Waltz” written by a well known poet named Theodore Roethke. Before I could begin my research, when I read this poem, it seemed to me that the speaker in the poem was trying to connect to its reader on a more personal level. From both the mood and tone of the speaker, I sensed that the poet was reminiscing with a feeling of disgust and possibly a bit of shame. To emphasize that this poem was indeed related to his long past childhood, the poem was written in the past tense while referring to what had taken place when he was a child. From the sincerity of the words...
7 Pages(1750 words)Assignment

My College Education and Internship Project

As I complete my education at Touro College it indicates that I am taking the first step towards launching into a full-fledged career. It not only signifies the end of my education but also my readiness to begin working and contribute to the world in general. I believe that my internship at Web fact, a technology company, has made me apply the concepts and skills that I have learned during my college education. The application of the theory that I learned in college in my internship helped me put my education in perspective. 

I am in my 5th semester of the Bachelor’s degree in Management and International Business at Touro College, Berlin. I find it exciting to study in English and getting an international pe...
9 Pages(2250 words)Coursework

My Goals and Experience

...What is the impact that you wish to have on the world? What are your short term and long term goals? How will your previous experiences enhance your ability to pursue a career that will allow you to achieve this impact? If Gravity, my financial advisory firm would follow me in chasing the dream of inviting investments into socially responsible industries like renewable energy and agriculture, it would make a substantial impact on the industry and subsequently on the country’s sustainable development. Gravity was co- founded by me as a financial advisory firm intending to help its clients to bring in more strategic investment. This dream later evolved to be my long term career goal. To lay the foundation for my vision, I set my short-term...
6 Pages(1500 words)Essay

My History as a Writer

...My History As A I am from Jordan and I came to the United s with my parents when I was 20 years old. My parents were convinced beyond reasonable doubt that the United States was the best place for us to start a new life and make something out of ourselves so we packed out bags and head out for the land promise. We settled in the United States and started a new life. Living in a foreign land has its advantages and disadvantages. On of the main problems that I came across during my first few months in America was the language barrier. I have learned how to speak the English language while I was a student in Jordan but what I learned in school was not the same as the language used in the streets of the United States. My American friends...
8 Pages(2000 words)Essay

My Personal Portrait

... long time served as reference points when taking stocks of our lives. This personal portrait has therefore being taken with these two psychologists in mind. My life stages according to Eriksons developmental theory Infancy – Trust versus Mistrust This was a more receptive stage of my life where I barely had any knowledge of what was going on around me. This not withstanding, it was an important stage that has contributed greatly to my current stage. This is because Erikson observes that this is the stage of a person’s life when he or she is nurtured either to build trust or distrust in life. At this stage, “the most significant relationship is with the maternal parent, or whoever is our most significant and constant caregiver” (Harder...
7 Pages(1750 words)Personal Statement

My Personal and Professional Goals in Global Marketing Communication

I believe global marketing communication and advertising program will enable me to attain my personal and professional that include an understanding of global branding and cross-cultural communication strategies that appreciates cultural diversity in the global marketing environment. I want to be able to inform, persuade and remind global consumers to undertake the consumption of certain global brands that offer differentiated benefits (McPhail 2010). I believe the program will help me develop excellent knowledge and skills in global marketing communication. I will also be able to have excellent verbal and written communication skills that are needed in designing integrated communication messages in the global marketing environmen...
7 Pages(1750 words)Assignment

My Memorable Story

...Memorable Story Memorable Story Every person in the world has a story to tell during his or her lifetime. Though it is clear that when people die, they will always leave a family legacy, which may live long with people or may fade away within a very short time. Below is an account of an event that took place in my family which is very memorable to me. My grand mother’s death from cancer is one day that most of our family members will never forget since she was a pillar in the family. My early childhood was filled with love from everybody that surrounded me. I was the darling of all the family members. It is evident that people have been handling loses in families or their life differently since it is part of life to lose someone close...
7 Pages(1750 words)Personal Statement
sponsored ads
We use cookies to create the best experience for you. Keep on browsing if you are OK with that, or find out how to manage cookies.

Let us find you another Essay on topic Sherman Alexie's The Approximate Size of my Favourite Tumour for FREE!

Contact Us