logo

28 pages 56 minutes read

Sherman Alexie

This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona

Fiction | Short Story | Adult | Published in 1993

A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality Study Guides with detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, and more.

Background

Authorial Context: Sherman Alexie

Sherman Alexie is a nationally recognized author whose works explore the identity of the modern Indigenous American. Many of Alexie’s fictional works have autobiographical elements, drawing in particular on Alexie’s experience growing up on the Spokane Indian Reserve and searching for both a personal and cultural identity. The latter is the premise of many of his works, including “This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona” and his famous novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (2007).

Alexie became the subject of controversy during the 2018 #MeToo movement when three women publicly accused Alexie of sexual misconduct, encouraged to speak out by Alexie’s former friend and author Litsa Dremousis. NPR corroborated their stories of unwanted, flirtatious comments in private and public, flirting that became suddenly sexual in nature, and unwanted sexual advances. The women claimed that Alexie used his status as an author to put them in uncomfortable situations, and Alexie admitted in a public statement that many of these allegations were true and that “he has harmed others” (Neary, Lynn. “It Just Felt Very Wrong: Sherman Alexie’s Accusers Go on Record.” NPR, 5 Mar. 2018). The allegations moved many organizations to show their disapproval of Alexie’s actions; the renaming of the Sherman Alexie Scholarship and the rescinding of his 2008 Young Adult Book Award by the American Indian Library Association are a few such actions taken by Alexie’s former supporters.

blurred text
blurred text
blurred text
blurred text
blurred text
blurred text
blurred text
blurred text