The story is about Jimmy Many Horses, a terminally ill man with cancer and his wife. Jimmy has opted to humor as a way to cope with his life for the remaining days of his life, but his wife is not happy with the fact that Jimmy is joking about everything. The story setting is in the Indian community, and Jimmy was an alcoholic. He retells his story, how he met his wife, through his struggles with alcoholism to a fateful sentence of terminal cancer.
Jimmy Many Horses has multiple tumors, and he does not have a long time left and he is convinced that the best cure is humor. He laughs almost about everything together with his wife Norma through the journey of life. The last thing that Norman wants to laugh about is his husband’s cancer. She has watched many people deceased all through her life, but she cannot stand to watch her husband Jimmy die, especially with all the humor to the grave. Jimmy is relenting with his jokes and for this reason, Norma leaves him.
The outstanding theme in this story is Alexie’s theme of resiliency. Even though Jimmy is dying of cancer, the story portrays him as a happy man, who is still laughing and enjoying every bit of dying. The story does not leave out Norma’s resiliency. Many challenging situations meet her in the entire story, but she has the audacity to laugh together with her husband. “Still, you have to realize that laughter saved Norman and me from pain, too. Humor was an antiseptic that cleaned the deepest of personal wounds” (Alexie,p. 4)
Alexie, Sherman. The Approximate Size of My Favorite Tumor. 1993.