Reading Response, 10/7

Sherman Alexie’s “How to Fight Monsters” (Blackboard PDF)

Fair warning: the story contains an instance of strong, racially charged language (think the Spike Lee clip we watched in class). Just so you know.

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40 thoughts on “Reading Response, 10/7

  1. Why does the author insist that he is worthless because he is not white?

    Why are the author’s morals so centered around fighting?

    I feel so bad that one person has a constant inner battle of personalities shifting just to fit in.

    Christie Gleason

  2. I wonder how many people I’ve come in contact with are struggling like the author was?

    What happens after he punches Roger? Does he get in trouble at school or not receive any punishment?

    I enjoyed the drawings because they added effect and really made me think, especially the comparison of the whites and indians picture.

  3. Why do the kids think “Junior” is such a weird name?
    What made Junior’s dad want to send him to this all white high school instead of being on the Rez?
    This story made me think about how many people must feel like outsiders at their own school and it explains why some violent and aggressive kids act the way they do.
    Lauren Anthony

  4. Why does the author put himself down every other sentence?
    Why do the rules listed on pages 130-131 tell the audience to go and find a fight?
    This reading made my blood boil; I know the feeling of being picked on for who I am and where I come from, and it’s terrible. It makes me really angry that there are still people just like the bullies in the story in the world.

  5. Junior says that he has “that stutter and lisp”. Are these common aspects in the way most Native Americans talk?
    Why was Junior so insistent upon the fact that he did not deserve to be at Reardan?
    The way in which Alexie wrote this essay makes it easy for me to relate to Junior– being that I have struggled with being the outcast way too often.

  6. What is it about the rez that is so different from his new school?
    Why did he have to follow the indian rules completely?
    It must be hard for Junior to experience the new environment when it was so different from what he was used to.

    Michelle Wu

  7. Why does he change schools if he knows he is going to be treated different?

    Is the only reason he went to a “white kid” school was to not be the weakest one?

    Everyone can relate to this story because everyone has felt like an outcast at one point in their life. This makes the story more interesting and easier to read.

  8. Why was the father driving while intoxicated?
    Why does Junior assume that all white people have a future?
    It is funny how Indians are portrayed as peaceful people in the real world but in the story, they have rules of Fisticuffs that makes them fight those who they come in contact with.

  9. Renee Lemire

    Why was front office lady introduced into the story? What purpose did she have in the story?

    Why did the majority of the “Indian rules” end in violence? Is the Indian pride that strong?

    I was surprised that Roger and his gang did not fight back because in popular media, they have fights on the school ground and then they normally end up sitting in the “waiting room” of the principles office.

  10. Why do you think the author included drawings of what was going on?

    Why did the author introduce himself as Junior to the girl Penelope, and not Junior?

    Starting in a new school is a really difficult thing, especially if you are different from everyone else. Junior in this story represents what many of us go through every day, being the odd one out, and it is cool to see an experience through someone else’s eyes.

  11. Palmer Harper
    Why did he betray his tribe and in what way did he betray them?
    Why does he feel ashamed to tell Penelope his real name?
    My favorite part of the story is when Junior knocks Roger on his ass and finally stands up for himself?

  12. What tribe is he talking about that he betrayed?

    Why didnt Junior give his full name to Penelope when she asked him?

    I dont like how Junior is so self conscious and scared of people, he should be proud of who he is no matter what people say.

  13. Out of all the kids at the reservation, why did Junior receive the opportunity to go to the new school?

    How does the title relate to the story? Was Roger supposed to be the monster?

    I feel like Junior’s character is very similar to Piggy’s character in Lord of the Flies.

  14. Andrew Miller

    Why does the author have such a low self-confidence from the start?

    According to the rules, would Junior have to fight everyone in the class that was laughing at his name?

    I liked how illustrations were included to outline the reading a little better. I also agree with many of the rules, excluding fighting girls.

  15. Based on the fact that every rule leads to a fight, why is there so much violence in the Spokane Indian culture?

    What did Junior do that was so bad at his old school?

    The pictures that were in this story fit in very well with the text, giving more depth and detail to the situations described.

  16. Why does Junior leave the Rez to go to a different school?

    Why do Indians fight so much, even against women?

    He has such a negative outlook on life. Maybe he puts himself in the situations he experiences because he is so negative.

  17. Doesn’t this make you wonder how many people are really struggling?

    Why is the authors confidence so low at first?

    I think this was a very easy read and kept me interested.

  18. If the author knew that he was not going to fit in and would be exiled by his race, why did he choose to leave “The Rez”?

    Were you shocked when the bully did not fight the author back?

    The story was interesting and easy to read. The author didn’t think very highly of himself; he had a very self-destructive attitude.

  19. Why did Junior deicide to “abandon his tribe” and leave his school on the rez, to be around people who were nothing like him at Rearden High?

    Do you think Junior bragged about his “fight victory” with Roger to his father later that day? Do you think his father would be proud or disappointed?

    I found “How to Fight Monsters” interesting and enjoyable. I love the somewhat “happy” ending, and the fact the Junior finally accomplished something he felt pride in. Also, I love the fact that he punched him not only because Roger had insulted the native american race, but also because he insulted the african american race.

  20. Why did Junior keep putting himself down?
    why did he “betray his own tribe” and go to Reardan?!
    I felt bad for Junior, he never got a break at either school and he just had a really bad self esteem.

  21. Why did Junior feel so self conscious about being different?

    Why did Junior have to leave the rez school in the first place?

    I liked how there was comments in the margin and the underlining of words throughout the story.

  22. Why are Juniors rules all centered around violence?

    If Junior and his father both knew it would be a struggle to fit in at this new school, why did they choose it?

    The author seems very self-conscious about his tribe and his history.

  23. At the end of the day, was the decision to be exposed to another world a good one or bad one?

    I wonder how many other people from different ethic backgrounds go through the same thing as the author?

    I found this to an interesting because, (1) my family does come from Native American decent on my mother’s side, and (2) because I understand how a situation like this could be challenging.

    – Le’otis Boswell-Johnson

  24. Why did the author choose to put his story in an Ipad looking thing?
    Do you think Junior wishes he was white?
    I think that Junior was really self conscious about himself and his nationality.

  25. Why were the father and son considered losers?
    Why did he fight any white kid that was living on the rez also, weren’t they in the same boat as him?
    I can really relate to this story because i too, i came from an urban area and went to a pretty much white school and felt out of place.

  26. Why does the author hate his old school and decides to leave?

    Why doesn’t Junior just accept that he is different?

    I know exactly what the author means regarding not fitting in and being different from others.

  27. Why does the author seem to believe that white people are better himself, pretty much throughout the entire story?

    Why did the white kids not fight back?

    I don’t understand why the white kids didn’t fight back or understand his hatred. Is that just how racism works?

  28. What happened at Junior’s old school that caused him to have to leave?
    Did Roger continue to pick on Junior after getting punched in the face?
    Junior is very self-deprecating, which works against him when he tries to fit in and make friends.

  29. Why cant Junior accept himself as being different ?

    How come the author does not have any confidence ?

    Is the title suppose to resembles one of the characters ?

  30. Why does he want to fight?

    Why does everything revolve around fighting?

    I like how his comments were in the story, helps understand what he’s thinking

  31. Why does he feel he is worthless because he isn’t white?
    Why do you think Junior is having such a hard time accepting himself for who he really is?
    All of the writing and notes in this confused me.

  32. What makes him think his father will forget about him and not pick him up from school?
    In the picture of the half Indian and half white kid, why does the Indian kid look super nerdy?
    Its crazy how much has changed about racial tension in the US in the past few years. My mom has told me stories about when she was in high school and racial tension was so bad that she couldn’t walk to her classes without being threatened by someone of a different race. The craziest part is now (35 years later) her best friend and old coworker is an African American. Talk about serious change.
    ~Kaitlyn Klingberg

  33. Why is Junior not proud to be Indian?
    Why is this pretty blonde girl so judgmental and mean?
    It seems like this whole story revolves around stereotypes. Although I’m against racism of any sort, I enjoyed this story because it was easy to relate to Junior.

  34. Why was Junior’s teacher being so rude?

    Why does Junior care what people think about him?

    If I was in Juniors situation I would have knocked the first kid out who insulted me.

    Zachary Anders

  35. Why can’t the narrator be Junior at the Rez and Junior at school? Why does he have to change?

    Is there anything Junior can do to overcome the white people?

    This story makes me sad, “I wish we could all get along… I wish I could bake a cake filled with rainbows and smiles and everyone would eat and be happy.”

  36. Why doesn’t Junior go to his father when he’s having problems? The narrative introduces them as having a good relationship from the beginning…
    Why didn’t Roger’s gang fight back after Junior hit him?
    Junior identifies white people in an interesting way, referring to their blue veins popping out more so than other races, but he never actually says white until later on in the text.

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