In “THIS IS WHAT IT MEANS TO SAY PHOENIX, ARIZONA” by Sherman Alexie, Victor does not have a job and must rely on counsel for the little funding they have. The counsel not having the funding shows how much his native tribe is dealing with lack of fun to maintain native traditions. It messes with his identity because he cannot provide his father with a proper ceremony due to lack of funds. The people in victors’ life must deal with their traditions being stripped away from them by colonialization. This can cause substance abuse to cope with and further divide families.
There were times reading Alice Dunbar-Nelson’s play “Mine Eyes Have Seen” when I felt the play defied Moral Criticism. Ugly things are said, for example when Harvey says that children were crucified in the war, and Chris responds, “Well, what’s that to us? They’re little white children.” But then Dan says, “Hush, Chris, It is not for us to visit retribution. Nor to wish hatred on others…Love of humanity is above the small considerations of time or place or race or sect.”
And that teaches piety and virtue, as Plato envisioned. In fact, the whole play can be seen as uplifting, even though the subject is depressing. An African-American family is living in a tenement in the north because they were burned out of their house down south. Their father was shot and their mother died of disease. One brother, Dan, was crippled in a factory accident. Sister Lucy cares for Dan and the house. Brother Chris tries to support them all, but finds out he is drafted in WWI.
As sad as this is, the family is quite noble and uplifting. They love and care for each other. And Dan reminds the others that African-Americans have always fought in the country’s wars. “They went in 1776…Ours was the first blood shed on the altar of National liberty. We went in 1812 Our men were through the struggles of 1861..they were there in 1898.” Their pride, honor and sacrifice comes through.