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The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven by Sherman Alexie and Smoke Signals - Book Report/Review Example

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The writer of this essay suggests that the Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven by Sherman Alexie provide an insight of the life experiences in contemporary Native America. This insight is outlined through various short stories that make up the book…
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The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven by Sherman Alexie and Smoke Signals
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Download file to see previous pages The short story is narrated in the Spokane Indian reservation in the state of Washington, while the movie is on the Coeur D’Alene Indian reservation in Plummer, Idaho. Alexie (1993) in the short story tries to trace the traditional life of the modern Indians. He depicts them as individuals with double identity, who are not able to identify with their traditions or how to react to the various traditions. In addition, in both genres, the characters are not able to differentiate between what is more important and that which is less important. We experience the characters making fun of their past and the traditions they had. Also, we find them coming to terms with the fact that they are in a different time and age, and need to conform to the realities of the real life. However, there are instances where the characters have a melancholic feeling towards their past, driven by the fact that the Indians had a role and purpose. Things have changed and now, they no longer have anything. This is shown when they say that it is too late to act like warriors in the traditional way. Horses have become a thing of the past, and they have to contend with the modern realities of alcohol, survive the broken dreams, and contend with stereotypes. Characters portray the themes of ethnic identity, as well as transformation. They are quite aware of the existing stereotypes associated with their traditions, and the author succeeds in criticizing the stereotypical depiction of the Indian past. Thomas Builds-The-Fire makes a comparison of time with skeletons. The characters undergo anguish when the writer alludes to the past being a skeleton walking a step behind, while the future being a skeleton walking a step in front of an individual. Indians are confined in the “now,” but the skeletons remain free and can only be harmful if they are allowed. The story “This is what it means to say Phoenix, Arizona” narrates the journey of Victor and Thomas as they set out to recover the ashes and belongings of Victor’s dead father, Arnold. In the movie, all the actors interpret characters in Native American stories. Victor in the story was raised in a reservation, but ends up in a city, Seattle, where he makes travels often. The random journeys between the two varying environments create a stark difference to him. Victor says he at times thought he would forget his direction, and spends numerous hours trying to get any landmark that seemed familiar to him. In the movie, Victor and Thomas embark on a journey to retrieve the ashes and belongings of his dead father. In their quest, they do not lose their identity as Indians, despite their differing perspectives. Once in Phoenix, Victor tries to come to terms with his true identity and the real cause of the fire that killed Thomas’ parents using information provided by Suzie Song, a friend to victor’s father. In the story and movie, the two characters, Victor and Thomas, end up forgiving each other and Victor is able to better understand his cousin Thomas. In the story “This is what it means to say Phoenix, Arizona” Alexie depicts the stereotypes of Indians with irony and trickery. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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