Literary Critisism Of The Lone Ranger And Tonto Fistfight In Heaven

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The book of short stories called The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, includes different stories of Native Americans in several critical lenses. It is a book full of different themes, but they all lead to the same closure. Throughout each story, it tells the conflicts Natives faced, and their perspectives that changed with time. It’s said to be that one’s past can reshape their future not just in one way but various ways. Alexie uses the title for contrasting an image of what relation Natives had in America. It showcased the hardships they went through in which those are poverty, alcoholism, racism, and isolation from society outside one’s reservation.

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To begin with, seen through a feminist lens Victor had several unhealthy relationships with a white woman. The characters lover in “All I Wanted to Do Was Dance” and “The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven” happens to be the same one which he struggled to get over. Victor’s treatment with his girlfriend was not quite how it should have been and when the unnamed white lady and him broke things off he moved back to the reservation which was then when he started realizing a lot of things. For Victor it was a huge change and made him feel like he needed to step his game up which was then when he found himself a job which was involved with the career he wanted, “basketball.” Also through feminist lens, due to Victors ex girlfriend coming over Victor with her culture, he wasn’t always the one who made an impact on the relationships. Women are affected by a patriarchal community.

Besides feminist lens it’s also seen that through cultural lens the character had family problems. The problems of alcoholism, abandonment and fighting. Victor’s relationship with his father was good up to a certain point. In “Family Portrait” the problem of how Native Americans can transend centuries of injustice and still lead a satisfying life in spite of the challenges of discrimination, inequality and addiction is addressed through much of Alexie’s fiction. The approach towards the characters challenging life provides an example of how one can withstand challenging situations if they empathize with those around them. It’s apparent Victor and his culture were marginalized by race. An example would be when Victor faced racism with the 7/11 clerk or even with his girlfriend and the police officer. Bringing back the white woman, Victor’s relationship with her fails since she wanted the ideal. The white lady was waiting for “crazy horse” and in the moment Victor figured he shall take the steeper path of being what he was, an Indian.

In addition to the critical lenses involved in the stories, archetypal lens is one as well. The book includes stories of many characters life journeys. Some of those journeys are of Victor and his troubled childhood, his addiction to alcohol and his life as a good basketball player. Another included Junior’s journey of being bullied. Through the book of short stories, change of self and coming of age occurred such as when Victor and Adrian gave up drinking and another when some started drinking. As said in the book, everyone is born grown up on the reservation, but in order to sustain oneself you must grow fast.

Last but not least, Marxist lens. Through this lens Natives were socially marginalized by whites. Also, in “Every Little Hurricane” the hurricane is used as a metaphor for pain. Victor uses violence as a means of expressing frustration towards his situation. In “Amusements” the police started chasing the characters because of commotion they had caused.

Overall, the narrator jumps back and fourth to highlight the different types of racial discrimination he experienced between different settings and periods. Life as a Native American including other races comes with discrimination and other things. One must be sure to not let hate comments drag them to the bottom and shall always show what they are capable of doing. In the book of short stories you can see each story had its different tale but in a way they all connected and came upon the same closure. The story was weighted with racial undertones. 

16 August 2021

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