abstract illustration of several people and items: a woman wading through a river, a Native American man in traditional headdress, bottles of alcohol, a sedan, a basketball, and a pair of eyes

The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven

by Sherman Alexie
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How does alcoholism affect the reservation Victor lives on, and how does it affect the other people on the reservation?

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Sherman Alexie has received much criticism for his realistic portrayal of life on an American Indian reservation in Spokane, Washington as depicted in the collection of short stories The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven. Alexie does not run from the "alcoholic Indian" stereotype in his work, but...

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Sherman Alexie has received much criticism for his realistic portrayal of life on an American Indian reservation in Spokane, Washington as depicted in the collection of short stories The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven. Alexie does not run from the "alcoholic Indian" stereotype in his work, but rather embraces and explores its perpetual role in his life experiences. As he states in the introduction to the book, "Everybody in this book is drunk or in love with a drunk." He goes on to explain the autobiographical aspect of his writing, and the need to include all that is real. Throughout the stories, there are fights, abandonments, sexual encounters, and other rash behavior that all result from the effects of alcohol. Those living on the reservation accept it as a fact of life and view it as one would the weather (as the metaphor serves in the first story "Every Little Hurricane"); it is powerful and it is out there, but no one can ever really understand it.

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