In Honor Society by Sherman Alexie, the narrator is a seventeen-year-old Native American who collects cans. His parents don’t have a job or money, but he’s trying to take the SAT preparation classes so that he can raise his score by 20%. The author shows us that if you try to gain something you want, you might lose something you love.
First, if the narrator does well on SAT, he will have to leave the reservation. He wants to change his life by getting higher education and earning more money, which means he will become another person after he leave the reservation, and people will look at him differently after he comes back. In the text, the narrator imagines his life with a SAT sentence completion,“very intelligent…..help…..that a college education was vital” “devoted to his parents…..abandon them and…..like a traitor” “ambitious…..see the world beyond…..elated and terrified”. The author tries to tell the reader that how hard the narrator to make a decision with his life.
Second, if the narrator leaves the reservation, he might missed his parents and songs that they always sing. The narrator mentions his parents rely on the government welfare and tribal charity, and they are always sad. “They didn’t graduate from high school and haven’t lived anywhere but the reservation”. Those things are all negative but the narrator also mentions whatever his parents are sober or drunk, they always sing the songs with drums, which means although he doesn’t like negative things of his parents, he still love them because he always sings “ Way-yay-hey-hey”. “Though I don’t believe in God, I believe a beautiful song is approximately God. So I sing and drum with my mother and father. I sing with my tribe.” We know that the narrator thinks his song as a god which means he love the song, and he believes in it.
Third, the narrator mentions that he has to sell 818 pounds of the cans to make $450 so that he can take SAT prep course. At the beginning of the story, after a house party, when everyone gets drunk, the narrator picks up the beer cans and drives his grandmother’s truck to sell the cans. All he wants is to earn more money then try his best to improve his score at SAT so that he will be educated at university. However, as a native american, he will finally leave his reservation and stay away from his family if he go to a university.
“Honor Society” is a first-person narrative story, and it is about a seventeen-year-old Native American who wants to get educated in an university, but he may lose his identity if he leaves his tribe and his family. So, the main theme of this story is that if you want to change yourself and gain something you expect, you might lose some important things you love. The narrator sings his tribal song when he drives, sells cans, and he imagines he will sing when he takes the SAT test. That means love his family, his tribe and the song, despite he wants to change his life.