Sherman Alexie

Topics: Native Americans in the United States, The Lone Ranger, United States Pages: 3 (960 words) Published: April 8, 2014


In his book of short stories, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, author Sherman Alexie explores the theme of Native Americans as outsiders and outcasts. Throughout many of his stories, Alexie’s uses the motifs, imagery and figurative language to underscore the theme. Three of these stories are “Every Little Hurricane”, “A Drug Called Tradition”, and “Indian Education”; Alexie uses the motifs of storytelling, alcoholism, and the warrior to explore how the outsider status of his Native American characters affects them as individuals and shows the resiliency of their community. Alexie’s use of imagery and figurative language help depict the distance between reservation Indians and the white culture, as well as the diminishing traditions of the past. Many of the characters in The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven benefit psychically from telling stories. Alexie suggests that storytelling offers both healing as well as a pathway for Native Americans to preserve their history and their cultural traditions. He depicts many kinds of storytelling throughout this book. His stories offer insight on tribal history and how the Native American experience has changed over time. Alexie uses the character of Junior to tell stories that address the traditions of Native American and how they portray both reality and hope for their tribe. In his story “A Drug Called Tradition”, Alexie depicts the storytelling theme. Native Americans tell stories as a way of preserving their culture. These stories are usually accompanied by song and dance. Some dances celebrate victories and acts of bravery, while others symbolize renewal of life. The Ghost Dance carries a meaning of re-union; it symbolized the diminishing of the white man, and a return of land back to the American Indians. In “A Drug Called Tradition”, Junior is telling a story about the Ghost Dance when he states, “I’ll dance a ghost dance. I’ll bring them back” … “With every step and Indian rises”…...
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