Thursday, July 29, 2010

Journal entry #3: Update on the legacy theme

So there it was.  On page 182 in The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie (823 Al278A FIC) – LEGACY -- plus it was in the context of two factors that I’ve been mulling over that may affect legacy -- age and culture.

Here’s the quote starting on page 181:
          Townspeople were starting to compare us to the great Reardan teams of the past.  People were starting to compare some of our players to great players of the past…
But nobody talked about me that way.  I guess it was hard to compare me to players from the past.  I wasn’t from the town, not originally, so I would always be an outsider.
And no matter how good I was, I would always be an Indian.  And some folks just found it difficult to compare an Indian to a white guy.  It wasn’t racism, not exactly.  It was, well, I don’t know what it was.
I was something different, something new.  I just hope that twenty years in the future, they’d be comparing some kid to me:
“Yeah, you see that kid shoot, he reminds me so much of Arnold Spirit.”
Maybe that will happen.  I don’t know.  Can an Indian have a legacy in a white town? And should a teenager be worried about his fricking legacy anyway?
Jeez, I must be an egomaniac.”

You can maybe see how all my mulling can start to turn philosophical. When does a person start with the idea of ‘legacy’?  Would a kid do this?  Is this more relevant to older adults?  Do most people start off with a ‘dream’ instead of a ‘legacy’, as a motivating factor?  What’s the difference between the two?

And as Arnold Spirit from the book asks: should a teenager be concerned about legacy anyways?  Which is really what the book is about. A ‘rez Indian’ who looks to do something different instead of being ground down by circumstances, striking out in a different direction from everyone else he knows, risking alienation but also possibly achieving  a better or at least, a uncharted life.

I really enjoyed the book, by the way and highly recommend it.  I also love how serendipity played into the big topic of legacy.  I’m not sure if I would recommend it to elementary students but will likely bring the book to the attention of Nellie McClung’s teachers.  They often take on challenging books that are rated for older kids because of the GATE program.  I leave it up to them as to whether all the resources I showcase are appropriate for their students. 

So, I’m still left wondering about legacy…


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