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
Start Free Trial

In “A Good Story” from Sherman Alexie’s The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, what is it about the narrator’s “good story” that made his mother happy? What is good about it?

In Sherman Alexie’s “A Good Story,” the narrator’s “good story” has a positive tone and hopeful nature. The story highlights the touching relationship between a tribal elder and a young boy, one that serves to strengthen social ties on the reservation, and this makes the narrator's mother happy.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In "A Good Story," Sherman Alexie highlights the diversity of the Native American experience.

In the beginning, the narrator's mother gently points out that the narrator's stories are too sad. She laments that people cry too much in his stories and suggests that he tell a "good" story for once....

See
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

In "A Good Story," Sherman Alexie highlights the diversity of the Native American experience.

In the beginning, the narrator's mother gently points out that the narrator's stories are too sad. She laments that people cry too much in his stories and suggests that he tell a "good" story for once. Although the narrator insists that his stories are well-balanced — that people cry as much as they laugh in them — he acquiesces to his mother's wishes.

He begins to tell his mother a story about a tribal elder named Uncle Moses. In this story, Uncle Moses lives in a seemingly dilapidated home on the reservation—the house has no foundation, its thin walls have no insulation, and the bathroom appears to have fallen in on itself. Despite this, Uncle Moses appears content with his circumstances in life.

Perhaps because of his sanguine nature, Uncle Moses is highly popular with the children on the reservation.

The narrator continues by telling of the strong friendship between Uncle Moses and a young boy named Arnold. By all appearances, Arnold is lonely. He's often teased by the other children because of his size and pale skin. Despite this, Arnold is graceful in his movements and is the best basketball player at the reservation grade school.

Arnold often visits with Uncle Moses, who makes him sandwiches during their time together. On one particular day, Arnold skips attending a baseball game in Spokane to spend time with Uncle Moses. This "unplanned kindness" touches Uncle Moses, and he tells Arnold that he has "done a good thing."

By telling this story, the narrator makes his mother happy. His story highlights the resilience of the Spokane Indian people and the strong social ties that serve as the underpinning of stability in their community.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team