The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven

Narratological Analysis of “This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona” 11th Grade

Sherman Alexie uses embedded analeptic narratives throughout the chapter “This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona” in Tonto and The Lone Ranger Fistfight in Heaven to emphasise the importance of both the characters memories and pasts on their lives. Embedded in the main chronological storyline, non-linear flashbacks follow Victor and Thomas’s pasts, showing their relationship to the present, since memory is activated by association with the present. By using a single narrative interspersed with flashbacks, Alexie frames the narrative like memory: prompted by free association, rather than always in a set chronologic order.

Victor’s childhood memories of his relationship with Thomas occur after he realizes he will need Thomas and his money to get to Phoenix. Victor “...held his head in his hands and thought about Thomas-Builds-The-Fire, remembered the little details, tears and scars, the bicycle the shared for a summer, so many stories” (Alexie 62). It's clear Thomas and Victor's past is causing Victor pain. After Victor and Thomas leave, another analeptic passage vividly reveals how Victor beat Thomas while he was drunk, “...Victor was really drunk and beat Thomas up for no reason at all” (65). Later in the central...

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