The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven Analysis

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The middle of the 1960s in the USA was marked by close attention to American ethnic literature. The birth of ethnic literatures forced America to reconsider the foundations of the national literary canon, in other words, its entire literary history. The public of the USA and Canada was forced to turn towards the recognition of national minorities. Among them, four ethnic literatures stood out, taking place as literary phenomena and taking a firm place in the national consciousness: Indian, Mexican-American, Asian-American and African-American. Contemporary Native American writer Sherman Alexie, whose name is widely known on the American continent, but almost unknown in other countries, is one of the brightest representatives of the modern American literature, providing an alternative viewpoint on American society.

The Author and His Work

Modern authors of short stories have absorbed the experience gained by their predecessors, among modern authors American Indian, writer of short stories, poet, Sherman Alexie. He writes about the conflicts, hopes and aspirations of his people, Native Americans. Indians today represent the most traditional element of American society, reflecting the conflict of archaic culture and civilization most of all. It exists within the "mainstream" and the established canon of the leading national literature, the circle of Native American writers already has several generations of writers, such as N. Scott Momaday (the novel "Ancient Child", etc.) and Leslie M. Silko ("The Ceremony"). Thanks to Gerald Wizenor, Louise Erdrick, and Sherman Alexie, for the first time, a picture of life on an Indian reservation appears before the reader, full of poverty and everyday tragedies, but warmed by humor, optimism, humanity and love of life (Calcaterra 146). The era of such writers as Sherman Alexie unleashed a new potential in American literature, showing life in the country from an alternative standpoint.

The author of short stories Sherman Alexie deserves special attention. His first collection of short stories, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, was published in 1993. and won the Hemingway Award (PEN/Hemingway Award) for best first science fiction book. The release of The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven was critically acclaimed. This series of short stories, like his other works, reflect his understanding of all aspects of everyday life with its desperation, poverty, and alcoholism of most Native Americans (“Sherman Alexie”). As an important part of American society, the indigenous people, through centuries of European colonialism and societal neglect, managed to develop a unique worldview. While these people feel offended and robbed of their ancestry, their philosophy manages to satirize and ironize their offenders.

In March of 2005, The Academy of the Atlantic Press (Atlantic Press) reprinted his collection with the addition of two new stories. Thereafter Sherman Alexie was named one of Granta's Best Young American Novelists and won the Before Columbus Foundation's American Book Award and the Murray Morgan Award for his first novel, "Reservation Blues", published in 1995. In 1996, his second novel, Indian Killer, published in 1996, was named "of People's Best Pages and New York Times Notable Book". Alexie distinguished himself as a poet, writer, screenwriter and orator. He is a significant writer and controversial figure, known for his witty remarks in depicting the realities of contemporary life. It seems that one of the goals of his work is to change American stereotypes about the Indian people (“Sherman Alexie”). He develops the idea that Native Americans are not trapped in the nineteenth century, but are part of vital cultures and, moreover, participants and part of American popular culture. Hence, as a Native American writer, Alexie takes her duties as a political spokesperson for Native American affairs seriously.


The short story is one of the most dynamic and popular genres of the 20th century in the United States. The characteristic features of this world and the people inhabiting it are almost the first thing that the short story captures and reflects. The American short story is characterized by a variety of forms within the genre. And since this genre occupies an important place in US literature, its study is relevant and extremely fruitful. The circle of Indian writers includes writers of several generations. One of the talented representatives of modern short story writers in America is Sherman Alexie. His work, the work of a Native American, attracts the attention and interest of the civilized society of America and the whole world.

Works Cited

Calcaterra, Angela. “Trauma, History, the Indigenous Novel, and the Now.” Studies in the Novel, vol. 51, no. 1, 2019, pp. 145–148.,

“Sherman Alexie.” Poetry Foundation, Poetry Foundation, 2010,

June 10, 2022
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