"Flight" by Sherman Alexie

Topics: Sherman Alexie

Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, But anyone can start today and make a new ending. Changing your life is not always easy. It requires capability, honest, and acknowledgement of the fact that you are stuck in your current situation with no way of fixing your life. In Flight Zit’s is a foster child, having spent the majority of his life moving from one negative and abusive household to the other. Sherman Alexie shows Zits developing from a troubled character into a sympathetic, kind hearted kid.

Alexie uses characterization and conflict to show that it is never too late for someone to change to create the life they’ve always wanted.


Flight is infused with violence at almost every point. In response to the emotional violence of his father’s betrayal and the physical violence from his foster family, Zit’s has developed an affinity for violence and fighting. He has learned to close his emotions off, and respond with aggression to any challenging situation.

On page 33, Zit’s meets Justice, who seems to influence him to do devious and outraged things to innocent people. On page 33, Zit would practice shooting at unconscious people until he believed that he shot them and killed them. “Justice and I stand over the unconscious dude. He looks dead. And I feel powerful. There are moments when a boy can feel immortal. I practice killing them until it feels like i’ve already killed them”(Alexie 33). Sherman Alexie purposely displays characterization in the beginning of the book to demonstrate that he was a bad person and how he changed later on.

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On page 88 in Flight Zit’s realizes the ugliness of violence. “I lose pieces of my rage, Until I am left with only fear. I had wanted to kill. But now I just want to stop. I throw my rifle away. I don’t want to use it”(Alexie 88). In this scene we can compare how Zit’s changes in the book. Alexie uses the writing strategy of Characterization to compare the behavior from Zit’s in the beginning and how it changes later on as he experiences these tragic acts on violence. Through the many transformations, Zit’s confronts the truth on violence and its ugliness. This new perspective on violence allows him to change later on for the best. The use of characterization helps enhance my central idea because it shows how it takes time for someone to change and better their life because Zit’s had to go through all of these transformations to finally realize that he will change.

Absent Family 

The greatest absence in Zits life comes from a lack of a stable, loving and reliable family. His foster parents, group homes and his peers offer little substitution for a real family family and for Zits to feel welcomed. Imagine living with people who don’t even make their own family feel welcomed. The lack of attention Zit receives at home make him feel lonely, confused and angry, leading him to provoke the cops to recover the lack of attention at home. On page 17 Sherman writes “I run until a police car pulls up in front of me. I’m an absolute genius. So I turn around and run the other way. ‘Come on Fuzz Boys, You can’t catch me’. I’m an orphan meteor”(Alexie 17). From Zit not feeling welcomed at home- it makes him get to know all the cops because of how much he’s been in and out of jail. At that point his home is the cell he stays in all the time and the only people that care about him are the cops. Through having Zit’s do this, Sherman Alexie is purposely using inner conflict to show how being in an unstable, Unreliable family makes Zits act the way he does. He later changes once he gets adopted by new foster parents who truly care about him. “Dave tousles my hair and leaves. Yes, he tousles my hair. No father has tousled my hair. So I am here alone with Mary. I am in love”. When Zit was exposed to love and affection it lead him to change and turn his life around. Ultimately, Zit realizes that every person has inner conflict and moments of confusion but it’s how you deal with it and push yourself when you are going through tough times to change for the better. The use of conflict displayed by Sherman Alexie helps enhance my central idea because we realize the importance of a family for Zits.


Lastly, Zit’s is overwhelmed with shame and much of his journey lies in overcoming that shame. He starts off immediately ashamed of his appearance. Spending hours a day looking at himself and staring at every flaw. He makes little to no effort to change his appearance because he does not feel worthy. “The skin doctor tells me I have six months to live. I’m exaggerating. I don’t have a skin doctor and you can’t actually die of zits. But you can die of shame. And trust me- My Zit shame was killing me”(Alexie 4). Sherman Alexie characterizes Zits with full of shame causing him to feel insecure about how he looks. The use characterization helps develop my central idea because we realize the importance of embracing one’s beauty and finding acceptance for who you are.

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"Flight" by Sherman Alexie. (2021, Dec 08). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/flight-by-sherman-alexie/

"Flight" by Sherman Alexie
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