A View of the Continuous Vengeance in Sherman Alexie’s Book, Flight
Cycle of Revenge
Gandhi said, “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.” What Gandhi meant was that taking revenge will make a destructive cycle. In Sherman Alexie’s Flight, it shows the vicious cycle in action. In the story there is a boy named Zits who discovers the true meaning of revenge through seemingly getting killed, and then getting embodied into people from both sides of the Indian war. His recurring theme about revenge is that revenge becomes a never ending cycle, there are those who seek to continue the cycle and those who wish to end the cycle.
Revenge becomes a cycle when someone harms a person and he or she seeks to harm anyone associated with that someone. When Zits is embodied into an Indian child, he wakens in the middle of an indian camp. He soon meets and father and then realizes that his throat has been slit by a American soldier. When the camp gets attacked by Custer’s cavalry, the tribe successfully fights them off. Then he is given the chance to cut the throat of a young white soldier. At first he is confused but then “[he] remember[s]: A white soldier slashed [his] throat… and now my father wants revenge. He wants me to want revenge” (Alexie 75). Everyone around Zits also wants him to take revenge, but he realizes that if he takes revenge on this soldier, the soldier’s family and friends will have the right to take revenge on the Indians also. Zits realizes that the cycle will keep on continuing as long as both sides are taking revenge on one another. This shows that the cycle of revenge will continue until someone one side steps up and stops the never-ending cycle.
The cycle of revenge continues when a group of people kills someone’s family and they wish to kill anyone associated with that person. Zits is now embodied into an old white Indian tracker named Gus. Zits quickly realizes where this is going to lead and tries to avoid it, but Gus’ will is too strong. When he instinctively leads the soldiers to a hill overlooking the indian camp, Gus has a flashback and sees the “slaughtered white settlers… the body of a little girl… lay the naked body of a woman… forever reaching out to this little girl” (87). This is the flashback that Zits sees when he is on the ridge above the Indian camp. Zits feels the grief and anger that Gus feels and charges down into the camp. They mercilessly kill innocent indian children and women. These soldiers believe that they are taking justice upon those slaughtered in the town, but they are just continuing the cycle.
Stopping the cycle or revenge can also be done. During the battle Zits sees a young white soldier, whom he nicknamed “Small Saint” chase and pick up a small Indian boy and runs for the forest. Zits quickly goes on a horse and picks them up and helps them escape and how he wants to “outrun that monster revenge” (97). Zits classifies revenge as a monster, which shows that revenge can lead someone innocent into being a “monster”. Zits falls off the horse and gets injured. Small Saint try to get him to continue. Zits eventually asks the boy why he did it, and Small Saint replies with “I joined the military to defend people, and thats what I’m doing right now.” Small Saint, as young as he is, understands that revenge will become a cycle that will kill many innocent people for the actions of their people. He tries to stop the rhythm and do what he thinks is right. When you want revenge for a group of people who hurt you family, you want to go kill them, but there are those who seek to stop the vicious cycle.
Revenge can be sought for many things, but it’s cycle can be stopped when one party accepts that what they have done is wrong. When Zits is Jimmy, a pilot, he soon finds out that he has been secretly cheating on his wife for a long period of time. Zits doesn’t realize until he “hear[s] another woman’s voice… a choked sob…” (117), that is Jimmy’s wife. When she finds out she throws out all his stuff and wants to shoot him in the face as revenge. Helda, Jimmy’s wife points a gun to his face; however, “Jimmy realizes he wants her to pull the trigger. Jimmy wants his wife to kill him (124).” Jimmy takes his death wish into his own hands and goes to his plane and reminisces peacefully while he crashes into the ocean. He realizes the consequences and is taking responsibility for them, which is stopping the cycle. When he realizes that he did harm to his wife, he realizes that he broke her heart and hurt her dearly, he takes his regret into his own hands and ends his life, feeling like he didn’t deserve to live after that. The rotation is stopped when one party accepts and repents for what they have done.
The final act to put a stop to the cycle is to just accept and forgive. When Zits is back to his own body, he now knows that these people have done nothing wrong to him, and that taking revenge on them will do nothing. After some wandering around he finds officer Dave and feels relieved. He chooses to end the cycle and asks Officer Dave “I want you to take [the guns] from me. Please take them away.” Zits decides to be as peace without the cycle of revenge and gives his guns to officer Dave. He now understands many things about revenge and how it does not solve anything. Zits accepts and forgives what people have done to him and has come to peace with himself. He is one of the people who wish to step up and end the cycle. When a person forgives someone who has wronged them, they take it into their own will and stop the pattern of revenge.
The never ending cycle of revenge is dangerous because it always includes someone doing harm to a person or the person’s friends and continues with the mentality that the person can retaliate and do harm to them back in the form of justice. This triggers a vicious cycle that is difficult to stop, but there are those out there who understand and wish to end the cycle, such as “Small Saint,” Jimmy, and Zits. Revenge is a big theme inside this novel and the that it will become a cycle until someone stops it.
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Cycle of Revenge Gandhi said, “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.” What Gandhi meant was that taking revenge will make a destructive cycle. In Sherman Alexie’s […]