Class by Sherman Alexie: The Theme of Marriage Essay Example
In the short story “Class,” Sherman Alexie informs about the struggles of a Native American and attempts to show how he responds to different cultures and the diverse environment around him. The two main characters Edgar and Susan develop a relationship that leads to marriage. Edgar struggles with his differences as a traditional Native American when he marries into white culture. Edgar struggles to balance his identity as a member of the Salmon tribe with the newly acquired identity as an American. This eventually leads to an end of their marriage. The actions, emotions, and image of the characters contrast and these contrasts clearly illustrate the differences the characters have in class.
Marriage is the focal point of the lives of the main characters. It is seen as an opposing viewpoint through their actions. Susan’s depiction of what Edgar’s love accomplished for her includes the differentiating natural elements of snow and heat. Additionally, the components of being lost and found to show Edgar’s love for her. These differentiating elements reflect the manner in which the characters look at marriage, and how they react to emotional events in their marriage. At first, Susan sees marriage like the beginning of the happiest time of her life; however, a year into her marriage it is clear that she no longer shares the same outlook as she begins an affair. Edgar describes the first two years of his marriage as “…thirty-seven cocktail parties, eighteen weddings, one divorce, seven Christmas parties, two New Year’s Eve parties, three New Year’s Day parties, nine birthday parties…six opera performances, nine literary readings, twelve museum openings, one museum closing, three ballets, … and thirty-two films (1354),” demonstrating his lack of passion and shows that he is in the upper class. Edgar’s rundown of get-togethers is very opposite of Susan’s symbolism of snow, heat, and being found.
The greatest complexities show itself in the inner most thoughts and feelings of Edgar, the main character. There are times in the story where Edgar is satisfied with his legacy, yet and still, there are different occasions in which his emotions are differentiated. Edgar marries Susan, a white woman, and his mother is delighted because the Indian heritage will eventually be deleted. At times it creates the impression that he is pleased with his heritage. For example, he regularly tells ladies that he is part Aztec in light of the fact that “Strangely enough, there were aphrodisiacal benefits to claiming to be descended from ritual cannibals. In any event, pretending to be an Aztec warrior was a lot more impressive than revealing I was just some bright kid who’d fought his way off the Spokane Indian Reservation… (1353).” Notwithstanding asserting his underlying foundations, he is furtively embarrassed about them.
In spite of his blended sentiments about being Indian, Edgar attempts to propagate a positive picture of the advanced Native American. He wears his hair in long dark interlaces as an image of his legacy, and tells individuals that his name is Edgar Eagle Runner, rather than Edgar Joseph like his license says. Edgar refrains from drinking enormous amounts of liquor since he would not like to “maintain and confirm any of my ethnic stereotypes, let alone the most prevalent one... (1357).” In any case, subsequent to understanding that his significant other has been faking her orgasms for at least a year, Edgar suddenly leaves his marriage bed and goes to a nearby Indian bar to have a beverage. It is a bar that the complexity in class is made.
The relationship between the two main characters had started with the traditional way of being married and which they could not choose. The marriage was seen to last for a long time but in the end, it had failed because they went into the marriage for two different reasons. Edgar went into the marriage because of his heritage and as for Susan, she went into the marriage to become more social.