The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven

Illuminating Irony: Technology on Sherman Alexie's Reservation College

Sherman Alexie's Native American characters in The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven are modern Indians who are often fixated on the glories of their past. In their modernization, one of the most blatant attacks on their pride and respect for their traditional ways comes from the technology around them. In perhaps Alexie's subtlest use of irony, technology manifests itself throughout his book, highlighting the tremendous gap between Indians now and Indians before the time of reservations. Indeed, the technology itself -- TV, radio, even traffic signals -- serves as a reminder of the outside influence oozing in, and its inevitable use by Native Americans is another sign of their surrender. Alexie uses technology in his book to highlight such instances of irony.

Television is perhaps the most often used example of technology in The Lone Ranger and Tonto, coming into most of the characters’ lives indirectly. In fact, one would be hard-pressed to find any character interacting with the TV for longer than a sentence, yet its presence is undeniable; it gives all of the characters a connection to the outside world. Few Indians in the book venture beyond the reservation, yet none are totally clueless about outside...

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