Sherman Alexie’s Audiences

As we have read so far in class, there are many types of autobiographies on the market today. From ones that take a cultural approach or humorous approach, to autobiographies that focus on loss, addiction, health etc. There seems to be something for everyone in the world of autobiography. In the Tool Kit, there is a section on “Audience and Addressee.” This section is important because it makes us question who the author is trying to reach out to in their self-narrative. For some writers it can lessen the spectrum of readership to people who are trying to find support from an author who has gone through a similar ordeal.

With Sherman Alexies “Unauthorized Autobiography,” the uniformed reader might think that his story might only be interesting for someone who is Native American, or someone who is specifically seeking out to learn more about Native American culture. I felt though, as the story moved on, that it was such a well written and interesting story that it surpassed what might seem to be a target audience. I really felt that he was trying to reach out to multiple audiences-and that is also evident by how many approaches he takes in his writing and by how much criteria he meets in the book.

One moment in particular in his story, Alexie begins asking the reader if they have ever been in a room full of people where they were the only one of their skin color. When he addresses the audience he makes it seem as though he wants everyone to read this, think about it, and look past the idea of Native American and into the world of different races and ethnicities in general. By not focusing too much on the logistics of Native American culture and more on his personal experience, Alexie, in my opinion, dodges the chance of only reaching a specific audience.

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