Analysis of Sherman’s Short Story, “Every Little Hurricane.”

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Sophomore (College 2nd year) ・Literature ・MLA ・1 Sources

Sherman Alexie draws a vivid picture that leaves the ending to Any Little Hurricane vulnerable to many interpretations. The story revolves around Victor, a nine-year-old boy who lives on an Indian Reservation and is impoverished. It all begins on New Year's Eve when Victor is alarmed by a storm that represents his two intoxicated uncles fighting. Third-person narrator is more mature in this novel, sharing much of Victor's feelings. As the story continues, different iterations of Victor, especially through his thoughts, are depicted. However, at the culmination of the story, Victor is still stuck in the same calamitous state portrayed at the beginning of the story. The tale ends in a state that leaves the reader to assume the rest of Victor’s life. He is not yet accomplished but based on what the reader knows about his childhood; one is left to infer how his life turned out. The author successfully utilizes extended metaphors, vivid depiction, and the utilization of a child chronicler to inscribe a distinctive short story that offers the reader a slight window into Victor’s perception of the struggles of his family. As such, this paper will strive to illustrate how the writer uses the literary devices to develop the story.
Alexie utilizes a protracted metaphor of a storm in the entire tale but still provides some evidence to back the notions that an actual storm may have hit the place. Nonetheless, the possibility of such a storm is quite feeble since Spokane Indian reservation lies in the State of Washington. The metaphorical storm tends to totter in and out of realism since it is interwoven in the entire tale while the physical storm is only mentioned occasionally. A good instance can be illustrated in the second paragraph that states, “The winds increased and the first tree fell (Alexie 1).” The author allows the reader to draw different interpretations from this sentiment. On one side, there is a possibility that a tree fell due to an actual storm. However, it is more probable that the storm signified the onset of the fight between the two uncles Arnold and Adolf. In this instance, the author elects to leave the readers to interpret in their own ways.
Throughout the tale, the author utilizes a wide array of writing techniques to give the reader a vivid portrayal of the story. The storm metaphorically gauges the severity of different situations. In other words, the stronger the storm, the graver the situation. Evidently, in the contemporary globe, storms symbolize troublesome periods. Apart from the actual meaning or physical form of the storms, the word can be used to typify problematic situations. In another instance, Victor uses his finger like a meteorological device. “Victor liked his index finger and raised it into the air to test the wind. Velocity. Direction. Sleep approaching (Alexie).” In this case, Victor searching for sleep is similar to how a meteorologist would detect a storm. Moreover, Alexie uses terms such as thermals, undercurrents, and thermals. Evidently, these terms are primarily utilized within meteorological settings. As such, the author extended the metaphor of hurricane or storm.
Another literary device utilized by Sherman entails the vivid dreams as well as overactive imagination typified by Victor. The author goes back and forth in a means to make the tale enticing. In one instance, Victor recalls his life as a five-year-old. His parents could not afford to give him anything during Christmas. “Victor imagined that his father’s tears could have frozen solid in the severe reservation winters and shattered when they hit the floor.” “Victor imagined that he held an empty box beneath his father’s eyes and collected the tears.” Using the flashbacks tends to draw the reader into comprehending the different situations compounding Victor. The author utilizes this device to explicitly make the narration creative; an aspect that entices the readers.
Victor’s wild imagination is also exemplified via the comparison of the “shattered frozen tears to knives.” Via this quote, it is evident that Victor genuinely loves his parents. Although his parents could not offer him gifts during Christmas, he envisages an earnest gift to give them. He is not infuriated by the lack of gifts; rather Victor is more concerned with the type of gift he could give them. It is a quote that displays how Sherman adds drama to his text via such fragments. For instance, the sentiment “Each Dangerous and random” carry immense weight and the fact that a nine-year-old was envisioning such terms makes it saddening.
Another compelling device used by Sherman is the tone. In most stories, the tone of the narrator tend to carry a lot of weight and define the mood of the tale. In the entire story, Victor infers to his parents in a neutral way. In spite of the frustrating circumstances, he did not portray his parents in a negative manner. He sees the impact of alcohol on them and maybe regrets how it has overwhelmed them, yet he still maintains his love for them. Via this perception, a reader might be drawn to think that Victor will learn from his parents’ experience and become more productive. The reader expects Victor to be more responsible than his parents. For example, Victor would describe his father’s drinking in a negative way. “Victor could hear that near-poison fall, then hit, flesh and blood, nerve and vein. Maybe it was like lightning tearing an old tree into halves.” Maybe Victor would alter his thoughts when he reaches adulthood, but at this instant he was disinterested.
This tale is narrated from a third person view. Victor; the protagonist offers the reader with his dreams and thoughts. By relating his story, a reader accesses Victor’s family including their background. Third person narration is an effective way of relaying past the past and making the tale attractive. Through this technique, a reader is exposed to a wide variety of storylines. A good instance can be illustrated by Victor’s dream to partake alcohol. It tends to be natural that Victor is curious but still scared of alcohol.
In conclusion, the tale is an exemplification of crisp storytelling that leaves interpretation up to the reader. The author manages to connect the reader to the various struggles compounding Victor. A combination of literary devices such as metaphors, vivid narration, and imagination as well as the tone depicts Victor’s perception of life while also illustrating his family’s background. The metaphorical storm is the most prominent in this tale, with the varying intensities typifying the different situations. Through the third person narration, the reader comprehends Victor and his family background from various lenses. The author leaves Victor in the same position the readers found him. One is hopeful that Victor is not destroyed by the alcohol, though the surroundings do not seem to imply the same.

Works Cited

Alexie, Sherman. "Short Story: “Every Little Hurricane”." n.d. http://www.syracusecityschools.com/tfiles/folder709/Every%20Little%20Hurricane.pdf. 23 March 2017.

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