The Story of the Survival of a Native American in Sherman Alexie’s The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven

April 27, 2022 by Essay Writer

In the reading, Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven written by Sherman Alexie, published in Bedford St. Martin in 2014, illustrates an autobiography that explains Alexie’s life experiences as a Native American descent and some of the racial prejudices that he encountered. The story opens up to him going to a 7-Eleven at three in the morning to get a Creamsicle. As Alexie enters the store, he describes the uncomfortable feeling he sensed from the cashier. His social experience allows him to understand why the cashier felt the way he did because he once worked a “graveyard” shift. He teases the cashier by playing on his fear, which soon enough offered the Creamsicle for free. Alexie also mentions his relationship between him and his girlfriend. Especially on how they always got into fights and the obligations that come with being her boyfriend. They soon separated, and he moves back to the reservation with his mother who is disappointed because he attended college, but hasn’t found a decent job. He reflected his school days when he used to play ball and how BIA chief’s son was great at it and beat him in a game. He later chose to move and get a job. One day he got a call from his ex-girlfriend, and they decided to forgive each other for all the fights and not sure what lies ahead of them.

In reflection to Alexie’s story about his encounter with the 7-Eleven cashier, it shows how humor serves as a tool to cope with obstacles that would otherwise drive us insane such as racism or an illness. Alexie diffuses the tension between him and the cashier by teasing him and giving him confidence in their social interaction. “The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven” examines the hardships and prejudice one Native American had to face throughout his life due to racial profiling. The story has become a symbolic meaning, between white American and Native Indian, resolving the conflict between the two can only be done through a fist fight. Alexie struggles with the racial discrimination and prejudice of being a Native American in a land full of white people.

Alexie sheds light on racial oppression and how Tonto has become a victim. We see it during the story, when he got pulled over by the police because the neighbors are disturbed he does not belong in the neighborhood or when the cashier quickly made assumptions about him when he came in the store. I also felt that Alexie had been an explorer from his need to keep driving and at times he got lost. He got used to being lost and not knowing where he was going that he became comfortable.

Alexie addressed these stories to make us understand not only what it means to survive, but more importantly what it means to live. We all have the option to live a miserable every day or find humor in life to make every day less painful. I know tons of people that have been a victim of racial profiling just like a lot of many other minorities, and I don’t see an end to this dark tunnel any time soon. We are very segregated by our beliefs and opinions. While one half of the population contribute to racial prejudice in our society, the other half are victims of the issue. It confuses people and makes us feel less deserving as can be. I don’t think racial matters will be ending any time soon, however, to stay sane I will continue to look for humor in things to go on about my day and not let these assumptions affect and stop me from getting where I want to be.

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