The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven by Sherman Alexie

The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven book cover
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What is the underlying message that Alexie is trying to get across to the reader? How does he achieve “delivering” this theme to the reader?

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tstrelevitz eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven is a collection of short stories and poems with many of the same characters. There is Victor Jospeh, who is usually narrating the story to us; Thomas Builds-the-Fire, who is a storyteller at heart who struggles to find a willing audience; Junior; and Crazy Horse. The story tells of a community on the Spokane Indian Reservation that is wrestling with small town drama, survival, and the effects of historical trauma.

The story that is most famous in the collection also happens to highlight the ways Alexie uses storytelling as a method of exploring genocide and survival. In the story, Victor is trying to travel to Phoenix, AZ to collect his father’s ashes. He does not have the funds to cover his cost, and Thomas Builds-the-Fire offers to pay for the cost of both of them to go. They take a Greyhound bus from the Spokane Indian Reservation all the way to the desert. Victor finds Thomas Builds-the-Fire to be annoying and tiresome. He is always...

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verascity eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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