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
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What are some of the problems the characters face in the Stories of"The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven"? Discuss the relationship between the public problems and histories and the private problems and histories.  Do the stories suggest ways to solve these problems?  Are any problems solved in the stories, or are they just exposed?

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All of the characters within "The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven " struggle with multiple problems, both personal and public. In fact, many of those problems transcend the line between the personal and the public at one time or another and are emblematic of the kinds of...

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All of the characters within "The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven" struggle with multiple problems, both personal and public. In fact, many of those problems transcend the line between the personal and the public at one time or another and are emblematic of the kinds of problems all individuals--particularly those living on a reservation--encounter.

Of the more frequently recurring problems are alcohol dependency and abuse, the struggles of inter-personal and family relationships, and the loss of a sense of connection to tribe and to place. Alcohol appears prominently in almost all of the examples of these problems and Alexie suggests throughout the book that avoiding alcohol would certainly lessen the occurrences of these problems. However, even avoiding alcohol would not keep these other problems at bay. Too many transcend the personal realm and are, in fact, representative of the conflict between cultures and between contemporary and more traditional ways of life.

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