Hemingway's Story, "Big Two-Hearted River." Essay

In the story titled, Jesus Christ’s Half-Brother is Alive and well on the Spokane Indian Reservation, Victor, which of who is the main character has written a journal about a point in his life after saving a baby boy’s life and having to care for the child practically by himself. At first, Victor had no idea how to take care of the child he was not very happy about it either. The child’s grandfather says that since Victor saved the boy and the child’s parents died in their home fire Victor was to take care of the child.

Victor feels as if that is just a way for the grandfather to get out of taking care of the child. At the time of the child’s birth, his mother gave him a name but Victor was unable to say the name so Victor as well as everybody else called him James. As you read this story/journal, it really gives you a perception of Victor. In this book, there are stories that describe Victor as just another boozing Indian. Victor is constantly trying to stop his drinking but fails each time. He seemed to continuously care about others and help his friends more than he did for himself.

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In spite of this, there seemed to be a part of him that just did not care at all. Yet, when baby James became a part of his life, all of that seemed to change. Victor has a child that depends on him for everything all of a sudden. Baby James turns into Victor’s life and a reason to keep going. Although Victor still drinks, he always has his mind set on James. Then comes the year 1971, Victor finally grasps just how sad he real is. Victor writes, “So much time alone with a bottle of one kind or another and James…” (Alexie, pg. 22 para. 1). Which also ends up being the year a fellow by the name of Jesse Wildshoe dies; it is at that point in time Victor makes the decision to go to an A. A. meeting to become sober. After having the rough life that Victor had, I think the obstacles and situations that Victor went through will let him be a better dad (because lord knows that is what I want for my boy. ) Throughout the journal of Victor’s, he writes about James not talking, crying, or even making any verbal noises until 1973.

At that point, in the story it states that Victor had his back turned toward James and was not paying much attention to him. “He said potato like any good Indian would because that is all we eat. Maybe he said I love you because that is what I wanted him to say…” (Alexie, pg. 127 para. 2). At this point, Victor wanting James to tell him, he loves him so badly tells us that it is love that Victor wants. Although, Victor knows that James loves him hearing James say it would make it more concrete in his mind.

On Christmas day 1973, Victor gets his Christmas wish. James talks to Victor. After a very long six years for Victor, I am sure. James talks and talks; the following year they are at the World Fair and James stands up for himself when a woman makes a statement about his race. Victor seemed to be a very proud dad at that point. References Alexie, Sherman, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fist Fight in Heaven (1993, 2005) (pg. 122 para 1, pg. 127 para 2) Grove Press, New York NY


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