His character is symbolic of how other reservation Indians have ruined their lives and dreams with alcohol. Alexie employs postmodern practices of writing to tell his stories. Two of the characters appearing most frequently, Thomas Builds-the-Fire and Victor Joseph, became the protagonists of the film Smoke Signals. This useful reference book includes history of Indian and white relations, Native Americans today, treaties, tribal governments, languages, education, religion, games and sports, and Native Americans in film and video. People refer to her as “grandmother” out of respect.

The fractured narratives and stories inside stories emphasize the desperation and urgency that drive these characters in their search for meaning. This is one of the stories adapted for the film Smoke Signals. Somehow she was still waiting for Crazy Horse. In , a group of militant Native-American activists occupied Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay for eighteen months, calling for the creation of a Native-American educational center. Though he primarily uses the latter two, by varying narrators, and using both first and third-person point of view, Alexie creates a complex portrait of Native-American life as filtered through multiple sensibilities. At the same time, Alexie offers ideas about both the value and the problematic nature of innovation according to tradition—the very innovation needed to overcome the results and effects of stasis is frightening because it is change, and it is new and unrecognizable.

We don’t live our lives that way. Ina group of militant Native-American activists occupied Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay for eighteen months, calling for the creation of a Native-American educational center.

Although Native Americans were, and remain, among the poorest people in the United States, their population doubled between andfromto more than one million. Alexie refers to abuses by the BIA numerous times in his stories, including “Indian Education,” in which he describes the blatant attempts by government teachers to humiliate him and strip him of his Indian appearance. In the following essay, McGrath examines The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven as both a literary work and as an artistic cultural representation.

He was once a basketball star on the reservation, drives a garbage truck for the BIA, and like other characters, he drinks to excess. Learn more about citation styles Citation styles Encyclopedia.


Essays on The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven

People refer to her as “grandmother” out of respect. Many of the males in Alexie’s stories are proud, but desperate.

We are also members of tribes. The symbols help in relaying deeper meanings in a….

the lone ranger and tonto fistfight in heaven critical essay

Owens argues that a Native American writer’s art is initially problematized by its complicity with linguistic colonization. In this story, Victor and Adrian, reformed alcoholics, sit on their front porch, drink Pepsi, and discuss basketball and the reservation’s rising star, Julius Windmaker, who, like Victor and other rising stars before him, eventually succumbs to alcoholism. Even Alcoholics Anonymous, which the narrator joins, is built upon the act of storytelling, as members meet to tell stories about how alcohol has ruined their lives and how they are going to stop drinking and change their lives.

Alexie himself demonstrates imagination and resourcefulness in the very way he has constructed the book as a kind of fictional memoir of his own life on the reservation. Kingsolver insists she resents his attitude because it would “limit the scope” of most authors; presumably she resists confining authors to composing characters of their own ethnic and cultural background.

He represents the reservation as a seedy and poverty-stricken place where despairing inhabitants spend their days drinking and playing basketball.

The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven

Along the way, the two reminisce about Victor’s father and reach an understanding of one another. One way his characters cultivate meaning is by mythologizing the reservation and its inhabitants.

Can you hear the dreams putting on a good jacket that smells of fry bread and sweet smoke? Their diet consists of commodity beef and cheese supplied by the federal governmentbeer, and fry bread, a traditional Indian food, and they live in houses built by HUD Housing and Urban Development.

My aim is to articulate an approach to this particular authored text which would prevent the incorrect and casual identification of folklore in literature, as well rajger any preemptive dismissal of its presence in this novel. It’s supposed to be fiction, but we all know whom he’s writing about.


The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven |

Postcolonial literature seeks to describe the interactions between European nations and the peoples they colonized. Hayes, and in land allotments were made to the inhabitants. Alexie underscores the continued victimization of Native Americans in this story by symbolizing the unfairness of the American system of justice.

Mythologizing takes on other forms as well. Besides picking out the keys to performance articulated by oral traditional theories, we can locate other evidence that Alexie is pushing toward a kind of “new” tradition.

By reading Sherman Alexie’s The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven as a literary construction as well as a work born of a particular culture and artistic tradition, I insist on a more complicated understanding of its content, shape, and meanings in a critique of folklore theories which limit and confine our concepts of the power and dimensions of shaped words.

He asserts that his writing is primarily autobiographical: Alexie occasionally makes references to Native-American heroes from history. He says the first thing he wanted after he was born was a shot of whiskey. At sundown, she leaves the creek, but she also knows that her life will be changed as a result of the day.

Alexie illustrates the idea that the Spokane Indians are becoming more like Americans in abandoning their elders, and he suggests they are losing touch with their tradition of storytelling.

the lone ranger and tonto fistfight in heaven critical essay

Silko wrote a review for The Nation in which she explains how traditions of Native American oral narratives demonstrate a legacy of “lengthy fictions of interlinked characters and events” as commonplace.