Your e-mail sent me scurrying to my signed copy. I also find my former haircut amusing in stylistic terms. Take a look at Chief Joseph. Somebody needs to do a study …. Looking at my hair through a slightly more serious lens, I think I wore such an exaggerated mullet as a means of aggressively declaring my Indian identity.
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The basis for the award-winning movie Smoke Signals , it remains one of his most beloved and widely praised books. There is Thomas Builds-the-Fire, the storyteller who no one seems to listen to, and his compatriot—and sometimes not-so-great friend—Victor, the basketball hero who turned into a recovering alcoholic.
Now with two new stories and an introduction from Alexie, these twenty-four interlinked tales are narrated by characters raised on humiliation and government-issue cheese, and yet filled with passion and affection, myth and charm.
Against a backdrop of alcohol, car accidents, laughter, and basketball, Alexie depicts the distances between Indians and whites, reservation Indians and urban Indians, men and women, and most poetically, modern Indians and the traditions of the past. These are cultural love stories, and we laugh on every page with fist tight around our hearts. With this stunning collection, Sherman Alexie has become quite clearly an important new voice in American literature.
His tales include all the ingredients of contemporary American Indian life: humor, heartbreak, and humanity. Alexie writes with simplicity and forthrightness, allowing the power in his stories to creep up slowly on the reader.
Irony, grim humor, and forgiveness help characters transcend pain, anger and loss. The ability both to judge and to love gives this book its searing yet affectionate honesty.
Highly recommended. It views American Indian lives from a contemporary standpoint and addresses the issues facing reservation life today. What ideas do they set in motion that the stories build? Tension builds between the characters and erupts violently as the storm moves through.
What is created through this interworking of the literal and figurative? Through the close connecting of the natural and the human worlds? Is it merely a matter of passivity? Thomas Builds-the-Fire, the seer, becomes increasingly isolated as the stories progress. A better world. How would you characterize his visions, his place on the reservation, and the nature of the threat that he poses?
Big Ma, the spiritual leader of the Spokanes, gives Victor a drum—a pager, she jokes. Why does he have a sudden need for tradition when his father dies? What do these different visions reflect about them? The deep longing of young men to be warriors emerges in several stories. What is the particular freight of this desire for young Indian men? What fuels their desire? What frustrates its fulfillment?
With what meaning s is baseball invested? Why might Kafka be a potent reference point for Alexie? Why The Trial in particular? As we move ever more deeply into the place of vision, do we feel that we are moving away from the truth? Or closer to it? How does Alexie depict the Tribal Council? What is being explored?
What is the importance of this line? What would the story be like without it? What sort of humor prevails? Throughout the stories Alexie vividly evokes the fragility of the tribal world. He refers to the challenge of figuring out what it means to be Indian. How does this connect to the question of Indian identity articulated early in the story? In his stories Alexie frequently includes details of everyday contemporary life, with its Diet Pepsis and 7-Elevens.
What do these details contribute to the tone and texture of the stories? Why do his stories accommodate such play with language? When does his writing tend to become more poetic? For viewers of Smoke Signals , how well do you think the movie captures the quality of the narratives in The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven? Throughout these stories characters drink and are drunk. As Alexie acknowledges in his Introduction, he has been criticized for promoting the stereotype of the drunk Indian.
How just is this critique? What does his underscoring of the force of drink in Indian life say about his sensibility as a writer? In his Introduction Sherman Alexie confesses the largely autobiographical nature of these stories, but he also asserts that they really are not true.
But in trying to make them true and real, I am writing what might be called reservation realism. Are these stories important as an evocation not only of Indian life, but of American life as well? Grove Press. Newsletters, offers and promotions delivered straight to your inbox.
Related Books. March Reservation Blues by Sherman Alexie. June Indian Killer by Sherman Alexie. April Flight by Sherman Alexie. An Independent Literary Publisher Since
The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven Study Guide
Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides. Smoke Signals. Fiction or Non? Plot Summary.
“The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven” Turns Twenty
Sherman Alexie became an overnight literary success in , when his poetry collection The Business of Fancydancing was published by an independent press. Alexie was 26 years old at the time. The English scholar James Kincaid published a positive review of the collection in The New York Times as part of a survey of contemporary Native American literature, which brought Alexie a great deal of attention from mainstream publishers and agents. Alexie followed up The Business of Fancydancing with this collection, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven , which consists of 30 to 40 stories that Alexie had mostly written prior to Fancydancing. The stories often refer to plot events in other stories, meaning that in some respects, the collection is more like a novel than a traditional book of short stories. Like much of Alexie's fiction, this collection addresses the many serious problems that modern Native Americans face, including alcoholism, poverty, racism, limited educational opportunities, and geographical isolation.