— Elizabeth Nguyen
Throughout the semester, the story, “The Toughest Indian in the World” written by Sherman Alexie made me feel uncomfortable intellectually and emotionally because of the sex scene of the narrator and a hitchhiker in the hotel room towards the end of the story. The narrator follows in his father’s footsteps to only pick up Native Americans hitchhikers and gave him a warning that white people will “kill” him because he smelled like salmon. The story combines the tragedy of cultural loss that was experienced by American Indians who lives in a modern world with hopeful desires in order to find unique and personal ways to ensure that the Indians never fully die. At first reading this story, it was hard to understand because of the term “hitchhikers” since I didn’t know what the author meant until reading it again a second time made me realize what a hitchhiker was because at first I wasn’t sure if it was what I was thinking but it was exactly what I thought it was. In the process of answering the questions that my professor asked, it took me while to answer the questions straight to the point because I didn’t understand the story the first time, but it took me the second or third time after reading it the first time to actually understood the entire story and question that was asked. This story was one of the most difficult for me to understand because the narrator would pick up different hitchhikers and would have some sort of agreement with each other and it was very hard for me to take notes of everything until reading it a second or third time. Reading the story, a second or third time it made me realize what the author was really trying to tell his readers and that I got a better understanding of the story. With our online discussion posts for this class, it gave me more time to read the story and understand the story so that it can help me better understand the story and have a better respond to answer questions that are being asked. During our online discussions, after I posted my answers and I read my classmates answers, it made me realize that I had to reread the story again and realized what I could have done better by taking notes while reading the story. Some benefits of being challenged as a reader in general is by putting all electronics aside that are a distraction while trying to do my work because when they are near us it makes us want to use them when we have homework and other important things to worry about. It makes me feel uncomfortable as a reader in general because some of the actions in the story are sexual and the narrator is “gay” in my opinion because of his sexual actions in the hotel room with a hitchhiker for a “one night stand.” The narrator in this story probably wanted to be like his father and follow in his father’s footsteps.