Honor Society Analytical Essay

Steve Wen


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……..that a college education was vital” “devoted to his parents…..abandon them and… 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.



Steve Wen

The campus of UCLA is extremely broad and was difficult for me to walk through when I was taking classes there. The harsh terrain of it, especially the hills with long, rocky slopes made me crazy whenever I was taking my classes or going to the office hours of my professor.

I used to take my classes with my friends when I was in China, however, my schedule of UCLA didn’t allow me to do this. Fortunately, my best friend Tommy and Owen were wise and intelligent, and they discussed a fantastic idea to save our energy and time to get to classes on the campus. We just needed to buy a skateboard like other students. Tommy was the first one who suggested this, but at first, I didn’t agree with him because I thought it was too difficult for me to stand and balance myself on such a little skateboard that was smaller than my backpack. Furthermore, While Tommy was skillful at riding the skateboard, Owen and I had never used skateboard before. So, I didn’t get one, but Owen was so generous that he spent $100 to buy one.

That day when Owen bought the tiny skateboard, he tried to go to the Public Speaking class with Tommy, but he had not practiced how to stop wheels while Tommy was skilled at it. So what happened to Owen? First, he was taking his skateboard with his arm and walking with Tommy, then, they stopped when they arrived at the beginning of the slope. When Owen was standing on his board and preparing to ride down the hill, he fell off to the ground immediately when the wheels started moving, and the skateboard kept running until a pedestrian went to stop it. Owen never rode it for the second time as soon as he fell off from it, which made him feel ashamed. The night after Owen fell off from the skateboard, and Tommy told me that story, and Owen was nicknamed ‘squanderer’ after it happened.

Since Owen didn’t want to ride his skateboard, I borrowed the skateboard from him and practiced with Tommy during the free time. At first, I was the same as Owen that I didn’t a grasp of the skateboard because it was my first time and the little, blue, sensitive plastic coated skateboard made me feel nervous. Somehow, I knew how to get on the skateboard and let it roll, but the biggest problem was that I could not stop it unless I jumped off it with a short distance running, Tommy either.

Despite me still couldn’t stop myself when I was on the skateboard, I tried to advance it slowly so that I could grab it very fast after jumping off from it. Feeling like I was The Flash while the red wheels, which looked like smashed tomatoes, were rolling toward swiftly and my body seemed like a ghost floating in the air. I enjoyed this kind of feeling as my skateboard passed people that walked in front of me, and this made me increase my speed higher and higher so that I could be faster.

It’s obviously a convenient and efficient way to transport myself by skateboarding. Although there were many slopes in the campus, there were also many long, flat and wide roads with the result that I always rode all the time quickly. The slopes also had many pits and rocks on it, and if I drove down a hill, my skateboard couldn’t be controlled, and that’s why I didn’t even try this kind of hazard.

However, when I look at my arms and left hand now, I still remember that day that I fell off from my skateboard in a super high-speed crash to the ground. That happened on a Tuesday afternoon; I took Owen’s skateboard with me as usual, everything was fine. I was listening to my music with headphone and trying to think what should I do when I arrived the classroom. Then, I noticed that my presentation slides hadn’t been finished yet, and felt incredibly stress to my grades and scores in my Public Speaking subject so that I stood on my skateboard and just let it go down through the most dangerous and incline slope of the whole campus.

At first, I thought that it’s not difficult to lower my speed using my foot, so I did not care about there were a crowd of people walking on the way that I would go. With the time increased, my speed got to the point that the wind seemed like it could blow me away, and my feet felt the shake between the rocky road and the wheels. As I saw, there were four people walking side by side; I had known what would happen next. So I lowered my body and tried to turn my way to the left a little bit. However, the tiny skateboard was not under control when it was too fast. My body was flying in the air which I had not realized what was happening, and soon I felt the pain from everywhere in my mind. My skin was burning like fire.

The result was that I hurt myself and got the tetanus vaccine in the student care center because my wound was severe, and I looked like a mummy after my wound was disinfected and covered with bandages. The moment that I went back to the classroom, every student looked at me amazingly, and the professor Jeremy announced that I fell off from my skateboard so that I was unable to get to class on time. I felt atrocious and anxious with my next 20 minutes left in the class because I was arranged to finish my presentation for the last one in the class.

So what happened to the skateboard? Nothing! It just tumbled and then was stopped by a guy who helped me up. The skateboard must be laughing at me since my riding skill was suck and I was too confident to challenge myself. Then I wasted a lot more time in checking my body with X-ray, wound cleaning, and waiting at the clinic despite the fact that my presentation was done successfully eventually. I learned the lesson that if I try in haste to do something, the efficiency will be lost. Also, never procrastinating your work, because it will let you get into trouble.


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