Deconstructing Cultural Icons – Sherman Alexie and Junot Díaz
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This paper addresses the problem of the representation of Native American and Latino/a identity in Sherman Alexie’s collection of short stories, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven (1993), and Junot Díaz’s, This Is How You Lose Her (2012). Both authors try to the deconstruct popular ethnic stereotypes of the Indian Warrior and the Macho by creating characters such as Victor Joseph and or Yunior, who learn to reject the violence-based legacies of their respective cultures and try to substitute them with new hybrid identities, thus proving that it is possible to transform one’s ethnic heritage without getting completely acculturated. This paper also attempts to demonstrate that Alexie and Díaz play a very important role in the discussion of postethnic space by emphasizing the dangers of perceiving the Other through the prism of mass-fabricated images. They continue the long tradition established by authors such as Gerald Vizenor, Louis Owens, Arnold Krupat, Octavio Paz, Mario Vargas Llosa, and others. Additionally, Alexie and Díaz incorporate survival humor into their narratives, which makes their characters more credible and universal.
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- Owens, Louis. Other Destinies: Understanding the American Indian Novel. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1992.
- Paz, Octavio. Labyrinth of Solitude. New York: Grove Press, 1994.
- Vizenor, Gerald. Fugitive Poses, Native American Scenes of Absence and Presence. University of Nebraska Press, 1998.
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