The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven

The Trouble With Karma: Close Reading of The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven College

Native Americans are often a forgotten minority, in history and in literature. The slaughter of native lives and the obliteration of their culture is an unfortunate American legacy. Luckily, writer Sherman Alexie has attempted to fill the cultural void and illuminate the plight of his people. He does this through a style of writing he labels “reservation realism.” Although natives are the opposite of immigrants, the experience of the Native American minority shares many similarities with the discourse surrounding immigrants, therefore rendering reservation realism a viable division of immigrant literature. This genre uses stories that are often “biased,” “exaggerated”, or “deluded” as a means of documentation and translation of the Native American experience (Alexi). The idea here is that the “story-truth” can be truer than the actual truth (TTC 203). Reservation realism combines the storytelling tradition practiced within tribes with historical fact in order to capture the essence of reservation life. This is exemplified in “The Trial of Thomas Builds-The-Fire”, a story in Alexi’s collection The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven. This story incorporates the surreal theme of reincarnation into its triangulated...

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