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The Properties of Memory in “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” by Sherman Alexie Essay

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Updated: Nov 1st, 2021

Sherman Alexie presents in his poem, ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’, a memory based on traumatic experiences. These experiences have enabled him to indicate the long-term memory processes of anxiety resulting from horror and elucidate his personal experience in the glimpse of horrified modes that have long-term implications. His conscience is like an open book that has retained all the outrageous memories of bloodshed. What he remembers is the slaying of mankind to which he acknowledges that he has attained and reached that extent of fear, after which fear itself has remained trivial to him. He has suffered through utmost disgust at the hands of humans, which he suggests are more than butchers and that even when he was a child. The experience of witnessing manslaughter in childhood has made Alexie horror-struck, therefore he has developed a sense of recognition for the catastrophic fear. He has seen so much human butchery in such a short span that he feels as if all other frightening stories are of no particular significance to him.

Alexie mentions that he has experienced racial discrimination while being Indian American and based on such discrimination, he has seen horrendous events taking place throughout America. Butchery has been among one of the racially discriminatory practices which have made Alexie forgot his own identity. Homicide and mass murder has been one of the main links deriving from racial segregation, which a child has witnessed by inhibiting external frightful memories. The mass murder of humanity experienced by Alexie has reshaped itself in many forms and every form brings some changes that have taken place since then. Every time he remembers a historical massacre, he confronts a new threshold of fanaticism. While mentioning the types of horrifying faces he remembers the face of “Leatherface, sledgehammer, slaughter yard and killing ground” (Sherman, 1966). His remembrance has affected him and has left deep wounds on his soul which is evident from the negative emotional hazards he has gone through all these years.

Alexie’s memory has elucidated many critical characteristics of violence upon him and has explained to him that terror is created from massacre and the more terror he would feel, the more he would be able to recall his obnoxious memories to express his gratitude towards lost humanity. This is what he highlights in his poem by illustrating that a despondent heart and mind is that which is shattered by the fright of his reflection upon historical events like Sand Creek. Alexie’s mind is shattered to the extent where he feels that remembrance of horror-struck is good as long as he expresses his feelings for American history by claiming that he never has been surprised over what history has given him because it is like history to surprise humanity by the violent crimes based on racial discrimination. This is what he writes, “Violence has no metaphors; it does have reveille. Believe me nothing is surprising about a dead body” (Sherman, 1966)

Alexie’s memory retains all the shocking experiences since he was a child and acknowledges that cultural bias is also among what he considers to be ‘cultural terror’ because he believes that killings, blood, and violence are all-natural consequences of humanity that history has repeated and will keep on repeating. Reckoning the number of dead bodies during Sand Creek, Alexie considers that those who sacrificed their lives against violence were humans against humans. This is what has happened in history and we can expect from history that humans are the greatest source and creator of violence and they have been doing this without any hesitation for centuries and there is no end to it. This is because violence is created by humans, for humans and is used as a source against humanity.

Alexie talks about art and exploitation which he refers to as tools responsible for the killing grounds and from which he suggests take place ‘artwork’ soaked in blood just like an artist’s brush soaked in color. Both ‘colors’, the color of paint and the color of blood produce an artwork but of different taste. The paint creates a picture that reflects serenity whereas ‘blood’ creates on the canvas of ‘killing ground’ rage and terror of humans resulting in mass murders. This can be perceived by the following lines, “The butchery its dark humor, that thin line between art and exploitation, because I need to prove blood against blood” (Sherman, 1966). Horror in this stance is a form of art and not only should the special problems of art forms be reconsidered; but the special problems of the genre that crosses art forms should be re-evaluated as well. However, art has taken such a unique dimension that Alexie now considers the horrors and butchery of the massacre as one of the most interesting aspects that praise and love horror.

Alexie acknowledges that it is man’s habit to express his inner rage through hurting other humans, therefore manslaughter is a form of art created by humans, this art is applied whenever battles occur to attain the pleasure of bloodshed. What Alexie wants the reader is to understand that humans are in a continuous conflict with each other, on that matter within themselves, they want to see a single race on earth, all Americans, all white, all pure.

Work Cited

Alexie Sherman, (1966) The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Making History: Indian Ground: p. 399.

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IvyPanda. "The Properties of Memory in "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" by Sherman Alexie." November 1, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-properties-of-memory-in-texas-chainsaw-massacre-by-sherman-alexie/.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "The Properties of Memory in "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" by Sherman Alexie." November 1, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-properties-of-memory-in-texas-chainsaw-massacre-by-sherman-alexie/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'The Properties of Memory in "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" by Sherman Alexie'. 1 November.

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