Analysis Of The Lone Ranger And Tonto Fistfight In Heaven By Sherman Alexie

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“Trauma is a fact of life. It does not, however, have to be a life sentence.” - Peter A. Levine, Ph.D. In Sherman Alexie’s collection of short stories, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, we read stories of Native American struggles for survival in an American society designed to keep Native Americans locked in the cycle of intergenerational trauma. Alexie illustrates the importance of rejecting intergenerational trauma as a method of survival, by isolating the two main causes intergenerational trauma becomes inescapable and giving examples that showcase the impact of attempting to survive the cycle. Through the interpretation of multiple sources, it becomes clear that the inescapability of intergenerational trauma is the outcome of internalized oppression and pessimism.
Internalized oppression is just one factor that contributes to the inescapability of intergenerational trauma. Alexie uses figurative language to demonstrate that the cycle of oppression is further perpetuated by the concept of racial inferiority, poverty, and failure to achieve an education in his short story “The Only Traffic Signal on the Reservation Doesn’t Flash Red Anymore”. The main character, Victor, sits on the porch with his friend Adrian as they reminisce their past and hope for others futures. Victor claims that “Indians [could] easily survive the big stuff... It’s the small things that hurt the most. The white waitress who wouldn’t take an order, Tonto, the Washington Redskins” (49).
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