The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven by Sherman Alexie

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How does the narrator feel about being Native American in "The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven"?

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Evans Daniel eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The narrator is not at ease with his Native American ethnicity outside of the reservation. He appears painfully aware of the prejudices he might suffer because of his race. For instance, when he walks into the Third Avenue 7-Eleven for a creamsicle, the clerk “looks him over so he could describe him to the police later.” When the clerk asks him whether he needs help with anything, he reads anxiety in the clerk's voice. In his view, the clerk “was searching for some response that would reassure him that he was not an armed robber” for he knows that the narrator's “dark skin and long black hair” is dangerous. From these passages, we infer that the narrator expects to be treated in a certain way because of his ethnicity: suspiciously, almost like a criminal of sorts. This idea is further elucidated by his memory of a conversation he once had with a police officer after being pulled over for driving aimlessly through a “nice residential neighborhood.” The police officer had...

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