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

In Sherman Alexie’s “A Good Story,” the narrator’s story made his mother happy because it was about the “unplanned kindness” of a child to an old man, a more positive and uplifting subject than the narrator’s usual topics. This made it “a real good story,” as she had requested.

Expert Answers

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

At the beginning of Sherman Alexie's "A Good Story," the narrator's mother complains that his stories are too sad. She asks for a story on a more uplifting topic, one which will demonstrate "that good things always happen to Indians too."

The story the narrator tells is a very short and comparatively uneventful one. Old Uncle Moses sits in front of the house he built fifty years before, thinking about how long it will survive after his death. He sees a boy called Arnold, who sometimes comes to visit him, running towards the house. Although Arnold is large and overweight, he runs with surprising grace, and Moses knows he is the best basketball player at his school. He reflects on "the strange, even improbable gifts a person can receive."

Arnold reveals that there is a school field trip to a baseball game that day, but he stayed behind because he wanted to visit Moses. The old man is touched by this act of "unplanned kindness," and tells Arnold that he has done a good thing. When Arnold asks for a story, Moses tells "this very story" that the narrator has just related to his mother. His mother shows her happiness by "singing an it-is-a-good-day song." She is pleased to have heard something so positive and innocent, in contrast to the narrator's usual dark subject matter. Her definition of a good story is not one that is exciting or technically skilful, but one which has an uplifting effect on her spirit.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial