The Lone Ranger And Tonto Analysis

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In The Lone Ranger and Tonto and “How to Write the Great American Indian Novel” by Sherman Alexie, reservation realism is portrayed through continuous references of Native American conflict. In The Lone Ranger and Tonto, Thomas-Builds-the-Fire was arrested for detaining the reservation postmaster, Eve Ford. Several years later, the case goes to trial and the Bureau of Indian affairs grants Thomas an opportunity to give his testimony. During the trial, Alexie mentions Eve Ford sitting among the audience who ponders Thomas’ crime by thinking, “he hasn’t done anything wrong” (Alexie 95). The trial continues with Thomas’ speech, where he provides glimpses into different Native American perspectives by describing that, “after I was beaten down, …show more content…
The poem provides a glimpse into not only a ‘stereotypical’ Native American novel, but the poet transports the reader into a surreal alternate reality while describing looks, actions, and relationships between Europeans and Native Americans (similar to Thomas’ story). Alexie references the history of Native Americans themselves (“In the Great American Indian novel”), and describes how “the white people will be Indians”. Historically, Native Americans resided throughout the United States and withheld more power than the settlers initially—however, these roles switched. Later on, European settlers gained more power through expansion, which resulted in the Natives transforming into “ghosts” (currently, Native Americans fail to withhold the power once gained). This oppression between the two cultures (the Europeans turning the Natives into “ghosts”), is similar to Thomas Builds-the-Fire’s testimony—although the instances themselves are different, both cases hint at the past to display the oppression Native Americans currently …show more content…
In the novel, Sherman Alexie includes a chapter called “Distances”; the story begins in an apocalyptic alternate reality where an illness killed all European settlers—the Native American survivors resemble the “Skins”, and the “Urbans” lived in cities (Urbans symbolizing white people). The world outside reservations remains desolate and barren, and the Tribal Council desires to burn/kill any item /person relating to the Urbans. In the chapter, Alexie initially states, “the Tribal Council decided it’s a white man’s disease in their blood” (Alexie 107). In this alternate reality, the reservation contains a “plague”, which kills the Urbans. Alexie says “it’s a white man’s disease”, which reflects on a historical event, where European settlers carried smallpox, resulting in the destruction of Native American societies. In addition, this touches on the Native American exposure to western influence—the burning of items/people with the “white man’s disease” suggest negative connotations to European cultural stimulus, and imply the forgetting of ancient Native roots and connections (since any Skin with Urban relation is also killed/burned). Evidently, a distance/difference remains between the two cultures both historically and currently. The author utilized a historical event (a reservation-realism element) and implemented it into an alternate

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