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The understanding of the readers is dependent on the manner in which they interpret the symbols used in literary works. Symbolism is a literary device which entails the conveying of specific themes and messages through symbols. The symbols help in relaying deeper meanings in a literary work beyond the ordinary meaning. It requires critical thinking for the reader to understand the things that the writer is trying to hint through the use of specific symbols. Symbolism helps the reader to make a connection between the symbols that are used in the literary works and the main themes. The hurricane is a recurring symbol in Sherman Alexie’s “Every Little Every Hurricane.” The hurricane symbolizes all the bad things that happen in the Indian reservations, and these include violence and alcoholism. The damage that is caused by these hurricanes is tremendous. The hurricane is a significant symbol in Sherman Alexie’s “Every Little Hurricane” that underscores the problems that that threaten victor’s family and the Indian in the reservation as a whole.
Firstly, the hurricane symbolizes the fights that tear apart the family of Victor. The story begins with New Year celebrations, and a weather forecast indicates that there will be a hurricane. “The forecast was not good. Indians continued to drink, harder and harder, as if anticipating. There’s a fifty percent chance of torrential rain, blizzard-like conditions, seismic activity. Then there’s a sixty percent chance, then seventy, eighty.” This passage implies that something based is going to happen to the party attendants (Sherman 1).The party attendants are involved in heavy drinking. Two of Victor’s uncles, Adolph and Arnold start fighting. The fight gets intense because of the drunkenness that has dominated the party. A fight breaks and this brings the party to an end. The author’s use of the hurricane, in this case, indicates that even though the family and the whole community is striving to be unified through the New Year Celebrations, fights that always break them apart. The fight between two of Victor’s uncles alludes in the hurricane because they threaten the unity of the family. The narrator points that “In the morning, all was good, but the Indians, “the eternal survivors, gathered to count their losses.” The implications of the hurricane are deadly. The family members turn against one another, and this brings a lot of pain. Therefore, the hurricane of fights destroys the peace and unity of the family.
Second, the hurricane symbolizes the poverty in Victor’s family. To illustrate, Victor has a flashback about a Christmas Party that occurred when he was five years old. His father tells him that he will not have the money to buy him a Christmas gift. They can only afford to buy a Christmas tree that has few ornaments. His father sits looking at his empty wallet, and he cries. Living in poverty is difficult, and it is a huge hurricane in the life of Victor. Victor is upset because of this hurricane of poverty. Poverty hinders the family from enjoying their Christmas time together. Additionally, the narrator points out that” when children grow up together in poverty, a bond is formed that is stronger than most anything. It’s this same bond that causes so much pain”(Sherman 2). This quote implies that poverty brings feelings of resentment and negativity that is why the hurricane symbolizes them. Poverty makes the family members sad, and the hurricane symbolizes the sadness. Consequently, the hurricane of poverty destroys happiness in Victor’s family.
Thirdly, the hurricane represents the suffering of the Indians that reside on the reservations. The suffering causes a lot of suffering and resentment on the part of these Indians. To elaborate, the narrator notes that “One Indian killing another did not create a special kind of storm. This little kind of hurricane was generic. It didn’t even deserve a name” (Sherman 3).This quote means that the Indians in the reservation have the tendency of killing one another and this creates a lot of suffering. Furthermore, the narrator explains terrible memories that guests in the party have because they are Indians. For example, Victor’s father remembers an incident of how someone spat on him while he was waiting for a bus. Also, Victor’s mother recalls how the Indian Health services sterilized her without seeking her consent when she gave birth to victor. Moreover, Victor’s brothers remember the battles that they faced when growing up. Suffering is part and parcel of the lives of the Indians that reside on the reservations. Consequently, the Indians are victims of circumstances and this makes them resentful and hateful.
In conclusion, the hurricane is a significant symbol in Sherman Alexie’s “Every Little Hurricane” that symbolizes the problems that that threaten victor’s family and the Indian in the reservation as a whole. The use of symbolism in the story evokes emotion in the reader. The first hurricane is predicted at the beginning of the story. Another hurricane appears in Victor’s flashback about the Christmas party. This is personal hurricane. The family does not have sufficient money to buy a Christmas tree. The big hurricane represents the relationship between the parents of Victor. The relationship brings out the theme of the sufferings that the Indians in the reservation face. Symbolism brings out the theme of sadness in Victor’s family. The suffering of the Indians in the reservation is emphasized through the symbolic hurricane. The hurricane in this story represents poverty, fights and the suffering of the Indians in the reservation. Victor remembers the difficult moments that his family has been through. Further, his father, mother, brothers and other members of the Indian tribe remember the suffering they have been through because they are members of the tribe. The author introduces the hurricane in the beginning in a bid to foreshadow the pains, suffering, and fights in the story. All in all, the hurricane symbolizes the things that destroy Victor’s family and the lives of the other Indians in the reservation.
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