The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven Questions and Answers: Crazy Horse Dreams and The Only Traffic Signal on the Reservation Doesn’t Flash Red Anymore

Sherman Alexie

Questions and Answers: Crazy Horse Dreams and The Only Traffic Signal on the Reservation Doesn’t Flash Red Anymore

Questions
1. What is the significance of the comparison between Crazy Horse and Victor?

2. What fears finally separate Victor from the girl at the powwow, and what do they suggest about his development as a character?

3. How does Alexie reclaim basketball for Native Americans in “The Only Traffic Signal on the Reservation Doesn’t Flash Red Anymore,” and what is the impact of this claim on the storyline?

4. Why is it so difficult to believe in heroes on the Reservation?

5. What is the mood of the final scene, and what does it suggest about “The Only Traffic Signal on the Reservation Doesn’t Flash Red Anymore”?

Answers
1. Victor wants to be brave and fearless like Crazy Horse, the epitome of the Indian war hero. Yet he finally cannot “play” the warrior and fight for the girl he meets, as the end of the story makes clear.

2. Victor fears that he cannot provide a future that suits her; she is a girl of the suburbs, while he is a boy of the Reservation. He still fears that the poverty and hardship of his childhood will be repeated in his own adult life.

3. Alexie suggests that basketball heroes emerged in Native American culture long before whites “invented” the sport. He ultimately attempts to reclaim not only the sport, but also its heroes, for the characters in this story.

4. The racism that American Indians face in white culture leaves them with few heroes or other reasons to hope. Alexie makes the interesting suggestion that “small,” seemingly insignificant, daily experiences of racism offer the most difficult obstacles to either becoming or believing in a hero.

5. The story ends on a hopeful note, as Victor and Adrian toss a coffee cup into the air and the sun rises on a new day. This “happy ending” suggests that their willingness to believe in a new hero will be worth the possible cost of disappointment.