The Lone Ranger & Tonto Fistfight in Heaven

Topics: White American, Race and Ethnicity, Native Americans in the United States Pages: 3 (1090 words) Published: March 20, 2014
Can One Belong to Two Cultures?
Sherman Alexie’s, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven is a combination of short stories that highlight the many struggles that Native Americans faced within their culture as well as trying to fit in with the “American” culture. Throughout the story, we see Alexie help the reader understand the challenges that were being faced by all the American Indian characters in the book through ideas or thoughts that infuses the everyday culture of white society and show the contrast that the Native American characters faced trying to blend in with that society.

In the story “The Lone Ranger and the Tonto Fistfight in Heaven” (pgs. 181-190), we see Victor reminiscing about how he branched out from the Spokane Indian Reservation and attempted to live his own life in Seattle, Washington. Victor has a relationship with a white woman, and that is when he started to notice how he, and his people, could never be a part of American culture. He sees that the American society is always going to judge him because “dark skin and long black hair…was dangerous” (pg. 183). Since he did not look like the typical Caucasian American person, he was always going to be suspicious because he had the potential to do something bad, like a shoot up the cashier at 7-11 at 3 in the morning.

The whole scene where Victor is going to buy a creamsicle from 7-11 is a great example of how Victor realizes that he could never be a part of the white culture. The “graveyard shift cashier” (pg. 181) is used to represent the stereotypical white person, who Victor has to try and win over by “proving” he is not dangerous, and will not hurt them. He breaks the ice by asking the worker if he knows all the words to the Brady Brunch theme song (pg. 184). This question is followed by a startled look and then a laugh, which shows the ease of tension on the cashier’s part. The ease of tension on the cashier’s part displays that Victor had succeed in breaking the...
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