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Zachreus 1

Amanda Zachreus Mr. Newman English 101: Period 4 10 November, 2013 Sleep, Those Little Slices of Death For some people, when they close their eyes it doesnt take long to fall asleep and enter their dreams. Some people remember their dreams and some dont. Edgar Allen Poe felt strongly that sleep was like a moment of death, only you just wake up. His poems reflect moments where his fictional characters inhabit sleep and dont enjoy it. In contrast, most non-fiction characters favor sleep and dreaming because their dreams are better than reality. In Sherman Alexies story Flight Patterns, William suffers from insomnia, which is a disorder where one cannot get the full amount of sleep the body needs. For William several things contribute to his insomnia and not being able to dream. In the story, Williams stress results from all the things that consume his life. More specifically, his insomnia results from anxiety. But William wasnt happy this morning. Hed slept poorly--he always slept poorlyand wondered again if his insomnia was a physical or mental condition (1). The question was posed if insomnia is a physical or mental condition for William. For a man that lifts weights three days a week, runs every day, and competes in four triathlons annually, it seems unlikely it could be a physical problem that is causing him to not get enough sleep at night. However, William does seem to stress about everything. He obsesses over his skin color, the criticism he receives from his peers, his worries that his wife and child may come into harms way when he is not there; his workaholic personality, his physical appearance, and the type of father figure he strives for are excellent examples of how his anxieties can cause him to lose sleep. There are also many smaller examples depicted into the story that show his extreme anxiety, which also could be contributing factors. So, whether his insomnia is caused by physical stress, mental anxiety, or even both, it is evident William allows too much stress into his life and is the underlying problem and cause of his sleep disorder. Having so many physical activities in a personal daily routine strains the body and can stress a person out causing different effects on an individual. It also takes effect on a persons appearance and self image. William mentions his physical appearance a fair amount throughout this short story. Hed worried about the fit, but his tailor was a magician (2). William was obsessive about his mane (2). while he pumped out fifty push-ups and fifty abdominal crunches (2). By these examples William is imagined as a fit guy that cares about his appearance, maybe even a little too much. His obsessive personality carries through to his view concerning his race which causes him to think that other people view him differently: selfconsciously trying to erase any class differences between them (3). William obsesses over other attributes which also contribute to his insomnia. He often tosses and turns at night in uncomfortable beds and one third of his life trying to stay awake in airports (3). One can reasonable conclude that his insomnia could be a physical problem. What about all the things he allows to confound his mind?

Zachreus 2

Not only does William struggle with himself physically, but his tortured mind is a struggle also: He wondered, as he often did, if he was a bad father. Most of his identity is invested in his family, as every good father figure, but William takes it to the extreme worrying about his familys safety. he had nightmares about strangers breaking into the house and killing and raping Marie and Grace. In other nightmares, he would arrive home in time to save his family by beating the intruders and chasing them away (5). Williamss life is consumed with worry of his familys safety causing his to lose sleep. His insomnia is a mental contributor because of the amount of time he worries about his family. He calls when he gets to the airport, calls when hes on the plane, lands, and is in his hotel room not only on his wife request but on some level for his own comfort as well. His obsession with looks had bled over mental straining himself and has to have constant worries. Not only is physical appearance a contributor to Williams stress level, causing his to sleep uncomfortably, but mentally stressing about his family while he is away for businesses purposes cause his to sleep less as well. I believe that William is incapable of changing his sleep patterns. He constantly worries over everything, which I believe, is the underlying problem for his insomnia.

Zachreus 3

Sherman, Alexie. Flight Patterns. Pgs 11. 2003.