Survival=Anger X Imagination. Imagination is the only weapon on the reservation.
--Sherman AlexieThe Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven
Key to Survival
Sherman Alexie's novel The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven depicts how reservation Indian's survive their hardships that mainstream society has put on them, with the use of emotion and imagination. Survival for Alexie's Indians is, "not to slow dance with [their] skeletons (21)." The reservation skeletons are the anger of the past and the dreams of the future that each Indian needs to combine to survive in the present. Alexie's novel shows these different phases through his characters that are trying to find the combination to survival.
In Funhouse Aunt Nezzy is trapped within a patriarchal society, which has oppressed her talents and her dreams. Living in an environment where there is no respect for women has suppressed Aunt Nezzy's ability to understand her path in life. Her craft of making buckskin outfits gives her, her only hope, " a woman comes along who can carry the weight of this dress on her back, then we'll have found the one who will save us all (76)." Aunt Nezzy's imagination gives her strength by looking into the future for hope of a savior however; her environment helps her realize that she is lingering in her dreams.
Anger from past oppression from Aunt Nezzy's family and her dreams of a savior triggers a reaction that helps Aunt Nezzy's balance her skeletons. " She stood, weakly. But she had the strength to take the first step, then another quick one. She heard drums, she heard singing, she danced. Dancing that way, she knew things were beginning to change," Alexie not only shows that Aunt Nezzy anger has triggered her to stop the oppression within her home but she know holds the power to change it for all Indian women (82). The images and anger of the past have helped Aunt Nezzy find her life within the present by reminding her that Indian women are strong and can...
Cited: Alexie. Sherman. The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. 1993
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