In the story "Crazy Horse Dreams" from Sherman Alexie's The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, what are the unnamed woman’s expectations of what a warrior should be?

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mdelmuro eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The story "Crazy Horse Dreams" revolves around a sort-of romance between Victor, a Native American man, and an unnamed Native American woman, who meet at a powwow. The woman approaches Victor early in the story, but is reproached by him because he says he is "too big" for her. She approaches him later, but this time sneaks up on him. She says, "You must be a rich man ... Not much of a warrior though. You keep letting me sneak up on you."

The remainder of the story becomes a bit surreal with the third-person narrator employing indirect discourse to describe the thoughts of the characters. The two go back to her Winnebago (note the use of a tribal name, not the more generic "RV") and proceed to have sex. The woman's beauty frightens Victor and he begins to tremble because "[t]here was nothing he could give her father to earn her hand." The two continue, but he asks her why she doesn't have any "scars." It's not clear whether these are literal or figurative scars, although I lean more toward figurative ones. She responds, "Why do you have so ... many?" 

Although there is one mention earlier of warriors, the final paragraphs of the story really emphasize the unnamed woman's conceptual idea of these leaders. After the discussion about the scars, Victor seems to become angry and tells her, "You're nothing important... You're just another goddamned Indian like me." She replies that she's the best kind of Indian and that she's "in bed with my father." This comment becomes clearer a paragraph later when the point-of-view shifts from Victor to her and the narrator says she believes her father was Crazy Horse, the mid-19th century Lakota warrior who led the famed Battle at Little Big Horn.

Bothered by this, Victor puts on his clothes and says, "You're nothing" to her. However, the narrator, now from Victor's point of view, says that Victor "wished he was Crazy Horse."

This idea of a warrior is important in this story because, like many of the stories in The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, this story focuses on the static lives of Native Americans. They are all waiting for that warrior to lead them off the reservation, away from poverty and alcoholism. This unnamed woman wishes Victor would be her Crazy Horse, but he's not.

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