The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven

Patriarchy in Relation to Native American Women: Analyzing Alexie (Fiction), Harjo (Poetry), and Erdrich (Poetry) 11th Grade

Women have always faced oppression. Society's patriarchal nature places women in positions where their power is limited. The governmental abuse of Native American women is evidence of a patriarchal society. Native American authors Sherman Alexie, Joy Harjo, and Louise Erdrich address the patriarchy in their literary works The Fun House, “She Had Some Horses” and “Indian Boarding School: The Runaways”, respectively. These authors demonstrate that patriarchal values place Native American women in vulnerable positions.

The patriarchy is blamed for violence against Native American women. Harjo and Alexie both explore elements of society’s patriarchal values. Sexism and violence against women are so ingrained into our society, that it becomes overlooked as something normal. In Alexie's short story, The Fun House, a nameless female character makes a seemingly simple statement when she asks her adult son and husband, “where would you be if I didn't cook, if my fry bread didn’t fill your stomachs every damn night?” (Alexie, 77). Her son and husband clearly hold the expectation that she, the woman, will provide for the family in way of domestic servitude. Her husband and son’s action reinforces a sexist stereotype of women providing...

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