Reflection essay題目：A Discussion and Reflection of Education and Youth
Education and youth are closely related to some degree as youth is an important stage for education to promote comprehensive development of adolescents in all aspects. Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian and “My War Story” by Shepherd Bliss are both about the topic of education, learning and youth. In this article, it is to have a discussion of how The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian and “My War Story” present the significance and impact of education, learning and youth to a youth’s growing up.
教育與青年有著一定的關系，青年是教育促進青少年全面發展的重要階段。謝爾曼·阿列克謝(Sherman Alexie)的《兼職印度人的真實日記》(The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian)和謝爾曼·布利斯(Shepherd Bliss)的《我的戰爭故事》(My War Story)都是關于教育、學習和青春的話題。本文將探討一個兼職印度人的真實日記和《我的戰爭故事》如何呈現教育、學習對一個青年成長的意義和影響。
Education can present a key opportunity for youth’s growth and tapping their potentials, as shown by Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. Sherman Alexie created the image of a Indian youth who is dared to subvert the stereotype of the white mainstream society about the American Indians. And it is education that gives Arnold Spirit an opportunity to cross the borders of the reserve, so that the Arnold Spirit can be successful in displaying the new image of the Indians and winning respect and recognition among the white students in schools.Before him, Indians just stay in the reserve. Thus they eventually disappear in the reserve so most of the Indians live in an isolated, and depressed state. Arnold Spirit left the reserve is a bold action, which has changed the situation. After crossing the border, and entering the white high school, he is interacting with the white society, to promote the social exchange and integration between Indian people and white mainstream. In school, Arnold Spirit, brave and wise , dares to take the lead to beat his white youth bully down to the ground on the basketball court, although he is short, wearing thick pair of glass. At the same time, he is humorous and funny, eloquent, showing his strong self-confidence and wisdom. He has made friend with a lot of people of their common interest. Arnold Spirit gets earnestly respect for his good performance in his studies. He wins the white community's acceptance and respect with his own ingenuity, diligence, perseverance and basketball skills. He becomes a 21st century warrior by superior excellence in his studies and amazing skills in sports, especially basketball. Arnold Spirit who gets out of the reserve and won the double recognition of the white society and the Indian tribe is not only due to the quality and ability of the individual, but also that he seizes the opportunity to be educated in a white school. The hero of the novel, Arnold Spirit is the image of the post-Indian samurai because he makes this key decision.
In addition, “My War Story” by Shepherd Bliss presents another key source of youth education：family and social environment. Youth education is not only concerned about educational institutions and educators as family environment will have a huge impact on youth education. Shepherd Bliss, a narrator of “My War Story” is receiving his education and learning about the world from his family with a typical life of the warriors. However, the career of Shepherd Bliss as a child born in the military family has been set after he was born. His father was absent even when he was born. More seriously, “ I was raised on military bases” (Bliss 15), as Shepherd Bliss remarked. Thus his childhood lacks father's love, and lives like a solider. Even if his father come back, he is also very cold emotionally, and behaves like strangers. From childhood to youth, there is a lack of freedom. The severe and emotional exclusion of Children, and lack of responsiveness to his needs from his parents leads to Shepherd Bliss’s emotional exclusion of military life. With a father as a warrior, and his arbitrary approach to Shepherd Bliss's life and study, he is ignoring Shepherd Bliss as a thoughtful individual. In his life, his parents play a leading or even decisive role in denying subjective thinking and insights of Shepherd Bliss in order to achieve education and influence on the social activities and the development of Shepherd Bliss. Thus he does not want to be related with his father at all. This reflects the interaction of a family and the way of communication clearly affects Shepherd Bliss's attitude towards life. This leads to a serious problem: he never gets any satisfaction, as there is no control over his surroundings. Shepherd Bliss under the patronage of Shepherd Bliss's parents are usually inferior, and agitated. He usually feels restrained and angry, and thus he is hostile to the environment and dared to rebel against it. The military life and the way his father treated him makes him show a strong sense of resentment and alienation. So the implicit power relationship and unequal communication model within family members of Shepherd Bliss play a negative role in the growth of Shepherd Bliss.
To sum up, educational context either in school or in family is key in youth’s growth. The school education provide a place for Arnold Spirit to set a new image of the Indians with wisdom, courage and friendliness in the white society. But, the story of Shepherd Bliss shows fully a huge negative impact of the family on youth education.
Alexie, S. （2009）. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.
Bliss, S. “My War Story”.