English 110: Writing the Self Student Work (Hilarie Ashton’s Queens College Course)

Alexie Word Collage

First Grade


My group decided that we would represent the Alexie text “Indian Education” using different collages. I chose to do a collage for the first grade section in Alexie’s piece. The meaning of this collage is to show how Alexie achieved strength. Bullying became a norm to Alexie. This shows through the way the word bullying is written. It is surrounding him and consuming him. He became so used to being put down because he stood out. It is as if the bullying became a part of his routine. As his story continues, Alexie changes. He is able to apply humor to his life. He is the color in his own life. This is why I chose to display the word “strength” in color. It represents Alexie and how he became a warrior , rather than let his experience weaken him. He keeps mentioning the word warrior in this section. I wanted his strength to be the main focus of my piece. He fought back. He stood up for himself. This is represented in the image of the word bullying being erased. It represents the final moment in the section when he was finished with being tormented. He took a stand in his life. He was making a change. My goal was to display this breakthrough for him. The reason I chose to use words instead of images was because it emphasizes the importance of language. It shows how language can be used to define a situation. The phrase “It’s a good day to die, it’s a good day to die” is said by Alexie. The word choice shows how Alexie was transforming into a warrior. He may have been in trouble, but he was a developing a stronger sense of self.

The collaborative process was interesting because we were all able to have our own unique ideas. We all wanted to make collages, but in our own way. It was interesting to hear about how my classmates would develop their ideas. We all worked together well and this benefited the project as a whole. We were able to see everyone’s creative side. We were all connecting to the text and bringing it to life.

Daniela Rappa


Poems-Visual Poems Collaboration; Found Art of Alexie’s piece

My group, Islam and I (Wadgma) decided to take on Alexie’s piece, “Indian Education” and alter into two forms: poems and “visual poems” (which are basically drawings). We decided to take on the span of Alexie’s elementary education from first grade to sixth grade; I took on writing the poems and Islam took on the visual poems. Our aim was to keep Alexie’s humorous tone and reflect this tone in our found art. The visual poems required Islam to imitate the drawing style of a child, but later these drawings evolve as Alexie evolves (grows up). The poems (poems with words) required me to extract some of the main points from each grade level from first to sixth grade and display it poetically. Here are the drawings Islam produced:


You can basically see how these drawings evolved from simple to more complex, just as if Alexie is growing up.

Here are the poems I have written:

First Grade

There once was a boy named Sherman.

He was an Indian boy but without the turban.

If there was one thing you wouldn’t be so certain,

the many names he had that the white boys burdened-

“Sherman” and some days he was “Junior falls down”

or mister “steal his lunch”, “cries like a whiteboy”.

His name was Sherman.

Second Grade

There once was a boy named Sherman

Who had an evil teacher named Betty

Each day in class, there would be a different sermon

meant for Sherman

and even if his palms got sweaty

with loads of books

in his arms, spaghetti

God would never forgive him.

“tell me your sorry” Sherman

“Sorry for what?”

“Everything” you “Indian, Indian Indian”

His name was Sherman, Betty.

Oh, Betty, you are so petty.

(this second  poem was inspired by an Eminem song “lose yourself”, mainly with the sweaty palms and arms spaghetti)

Third Grade

There once was a boy named Sherman

Who in the third grade began a career

in Native American Art

However, the system can be so cruel

since the same system that preaches

freedom of expression

saw his art as a form of transgression

and censored the boy named Sherman

and his “Stick Indian Taking A Piss In My Backyard”

because of a fear.

His name was Sherman.

And he stood alone in his heart.

Fourth Grade

There once was a boy named Sherman

Who looked guilty.

His name was Sherman.

Fifth Grade

There once was a boy named Sherman

Who saw beauty in math

and witnessed the chemistry and biology

of nature’s wrath.

“Oh do you remember those sweet, almost innocent

choices that the Indian boys were forced to make?”

He was his own invention.

His name was Sherman.

Sixth Grade

There once was a boy named Sherman

Who’s soon to be first friend Randy

taught him the most valuable lesson

That will come in handy

when living in the white world

“Always throw the first punch”

Even with the slightest hunch.

His name was Sherman.

Overall, I felt that the repetition of some phrases such as “there once was a boy name Sherman” and “his name was Sherman” was necessary so that Sherman Alexie’s character is amplified to the reader and also to bring awareness to the union and built of each grade level Alexie ascends to.




UZMA - WIN_20150514_164659
SCENE 4 : He is playing basket ball using math symbols while thinking about his grades in math “F”.




Photo on 5-17-15 at 9.29 AM  I illustrate the scene when Alcxie stand in front of the mirror imagining himself as a doctor. I copy the idea of “who is the prettiest woman on earth” from Snow white. As you can see, it around the frame of the mirror. I purposely used pencil and depicted a blurry background, to show Alxie’s struggle. Alexie is also illustrate as a “tree” and his roots are connected to his backgrounds. The name of roots are: indian; un-respectable; smoking…….

Wenli Chen


The Futures Initiative
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