Although doctors were not hopeful of his recovery, Alexie did recover, though he suffered from seizures during childhood. Containing elements of parable and allegory, this story covers the years — and chronicles the relationship between the narrator and an orphaned baby he adopts who takes on Christ-like characteristics. The idea of salvation is at the heart of storytelling in Alexie’s stories—salvation from one’s own destructive impulses, salvation from the appropriation of Native-American history and traditions by others, salvation from the onslaught of technology that supplants human connectedness and colonizes family life. Events from the past frequently bleed into the present during this story, illustrating Victor’s claim that “Your past is a skeleton walking one step behind you, and your future is a skeleton walking one step in front of you. I also challenge the popular but simplistic notion that Native American writing is somehow more “oral” than other texts, and I combat in part the increasingly useless distinction between the written and oral manifestation of verbal art by relying on some ideas of Dell Hymes as well as John Miles Foley. For example, , the year of Alexie’s birth, is also the year of Victor’s birth and of another of his narrators.

Alexie uses multiple perspectives in his book to convey the complexity of the situation on the reservation…. He also describes burning down houses because white people had inhabited them, dancing with Tremble Dancer, an Urban, and assorted dreams about Indians from the past. When the relationship sours, Victor returns to the reservation, stops drinking and finds a job answering phones for a high school exchange program. Victor is a fictionalized version of Alexie, as the author has admitted. Of Alexie’s unblinking representation of life on the reservation, Steinberg writes, “He captures the reservation’s strong sense of community and attitude of hope tinged with realism as its inhabitants determine to persevere despite the odds.

In this story, Victor recounts memories of his father coming home drunk during the s and listening to Jimi Hendrix play “The Star Spangled Banner. The final image in the story is of Samuel passed out drunk on the railroad tracks. In this fistfighh story, Victor leaves the reservation to live in Seattle with his white girlfriend, who plays out the role of the Lone Ranger to Victor’s Tonto.

The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven Essay

This story describes Junior’s family members and their propensity for storytelling. He says I better learn how to shoot left-handed if I’m going to keep playing basketball.

Critjcal frequently praise his work as lyric, humorous and comic, and, of course, make use of the fabulous catch-all phrase critics use for any phenomena they can’t easily categorize, “magical realism. It’s supposed to be fiction, but we all know whom he’s writing about.


The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven Criticism

By reading Sherman Alexie’s The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven as a literary construction as well as a work born of a particular culture and artistic tradition, I insist on a more complicated understanding of its content, shape, and meanings in a critique of folklore theories which limit and confine our tobto of the power and dimensions of shaped words.

But they’re not necessarily evil, unless you let them be. She reports, “He hit a three thousand foot jumper at the buzzer …” “I think he was Crazy Horse for just a second,” said an anonymous and maybe-just-a-little-crazy-themselves source …” Alexie seems to be innovating, through Norma, on both the conventions of print journalism and the traditional hero motif. Cracroft, The Gale Group,pp.

The television was always loud, too loud, until every emotion was measured by the half hour.

Semansky is an instructor of English literature and composition and writes on literature and culture for several publications. Can you hear the dreams stay up late and talk so many stones? Criticxl, caught cditical reservation community and his own individuality, tries to present himself as the stereotypical warrior Indian, and is a habitual persecutor of Thomas and a harsh critic of his stories.

This story is structured as a series of short descriptive vignettes, each depicting a grade in Victor’s education, from first grade through twelfth.

Jimi Hendrix, part Cherokee Indian, was a Seattle-born rock and roll star who gained fame for his masterful guitar playing. I assert, however, that besides easily dissecting Alexie’s story collection and recognizing textual indications of meaning and performance, and beyond identifying keys to performance which indicate how this text might register with people in Alexie’s folk group, I also contend that there is a kind of living dimension to the authored, printed word that cannot be summarily discounted unless we are unwilling to examine and enflesh our understanding of word power and a living tradition, and I argue for a more expansive notion of how folklore processes can be exchanged and represented.

Victor is thirteen in this story, and he and his father are driving to the police station so that the police can ask his father questions about a missing Indian, Jerry Vincent, who was supposedly killed ten years earlier. Indeed, after understanding the implications of incorporating one cultural form of expression—that is, Native American verbal art—with a literary genre that has historically and contemporarily dominated and oppressed it, we can more thoroughly comprehend how Alexie simultaneously disentangles himself from what Owens calls a collaboration with a tool of colonization.

Can you hear the dreams laughing in the sawdust? Alexie explains, “I write what I know, and I don’t try to mythologize myself, which is what some seem to want, and which some Indian women and men writers are doing, this Earth Mother and Shaman Man thing, trying to create these “authentic, traditional” Indians.


Indeed, we can examine his content for the hallmarks of Native American literature and traditional narrative themes, including repetition, the “recasting of tribal narratives into modern day story lines, a certain admixture of sacred and profane influences, and the enunciation of tacitly Indian worldviews and personal experiences.

The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven Criticism

In a feature interview on National Public RadioLiane Hansen quotes a woman who grew up knowing the author: That is, we can examine Alexie’s text for its literary practices which represent those signals of performance, and then we can begin to seek a truer understanding of traditional meanings and ideas.

To outline the work briefly, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven is composed of twenty-two short stories; there is no conventional plot connecting them, but they are interlinked, much like Louise Erdrich ‘s Love Medicinea storytelling style some critics characterize, because of the additive development, as inherently oral traditional.

Silko wrote a review for The Nation in which she hheaven how traditions of Native American oral narratives demonstrate a legacy of “lengthy fictions of interlinked characters and events” as commonplace. In “The First Annual All-Indian Horseshoe Pitch and Barbecue,” the story is told in first person, but at the end, a series of questions are posed to the audience by the narrator, a device repeated in several stories: Alexie lives in Seattle, Washington, with his wife, Diane, and their son, Joseph.

the lone ranger and tonto fistfight in heaven critical essay

In this character sketch of his Aunt Nezzy, Victor recounts an episode during which a mouse crawls up his aunt’s leg, and her son and uncle mock her. The narrator, Jimmy Many Horses, who has cancer, describes his on-again, off-again relationship with his wife, Norma.

This is one of the stories adapted for the film Smoke Signals.

the lone ranger and tonto fistfight in heaven critical essay

I think all too often, brown people buy into the Western civilization idea of looking at the artist as ccritical individual. Even Alcoholics Anonymous, which the narrator joins, is built upon the act of storytelling, as members meet to tell stories about fistfiyht alcohol has ruined their lives and how they are going to stop drinking and change their lives. At the end of the story, Victor offers Thomas some of his father’s ashes.