Indian Killer Essay

This essay has a total of 662 words and 3 pages.

Indian Killer

In Indian Killer Alexie uses a pulp-fiction form, the serial killer mystery, to frame the
social issues facing American Indians. He populates the book with stock characters such as
a grizzled ex-cop, a left-wing professor, a right-wing talk radio personality, drunken
bums, thuggish teenagers and a schizophrenic main character who serves as the most obvious
suspect in a mystery that never quite resolves itself.

John Smith, the troubled Indian adopted by whites appears at first to be the main
character, but in some respects he is what Alfred Hitchcock called a McGuffin. The story
is built around him, but he is not truly the main character and he is not the heart of the
story. His struggle, while pointing out one aspect of the American Indian experience, is
not the central point. John Smith's experiences as an Indian adopted by whites have left
him too addled and sad, from the first moment to the last, to serve as the story's true
focus.

The damage that had been done to John Smith was irreparable from the moment the story
began. His death, while a gloomy ending for his character, is in many ways a release from
his torment, as demonstrated by his rising from the point of impact and leaving his body
behind. The value of John Smith is to serve as an extreme example of the damage being done
to Indian society.

The heart of the story is the experience of Marie Polatkin. Unlike the somewhat stock
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