The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven Questions and Answers
by Sherman Alexie

The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven book cover
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What is the meaning of the title? Why does the writer name the story that way?

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Thanh Munoz eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Alexie's collection of stories portrays American Indian culture in such a way that it is simultaneously a response to the centuries-long marginalization of the indigenous people by the whites and, as well, a picture of the long-term effects upon Native Americans of what has amounted to cultural (and actual) genocide. The title alludes to the popular radio and television series The Lone Ranger of the 1940s and 1950s, in which the title character is accompanied by his faithful Indian companion Tonto. The last thing that would ever have occurred on the actual series is a fistfight between these two. Tonto's devotion to the Ranger is absolute, an unfortunate symbol of the Indian's subservient position with regard to the Anglo. Though the Ranger never mistreats Tonto, and every indication is that their companionship is genuine, the white man is clearly the leader if not the master. Looked at from the perspective of what actually transpired between whites and Native peoples over the centuries,...

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