The Greater Controlling The Lesser Essay

The Greater Controlling The Lesser Essay

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The book The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven by Sherman Alexie and the poem “Discovery of the New World” by Carter Revard contain similar and different themes. Both pieces of literature have a theme of a greater power taking control of a lesser power. They both also use the theme of prejudice in a similar way. However, Alexie presents the theme of assimilation in his book. Assimilation means to try to change yourself to be similar to another group of people. Even though Alexie’s The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven and Revard’s “Discovery of the New World” both contain similar themes of takeover and prejudice, Revard lacks the theme of assimilation that Alexie presents through the use of the characters, plot, and setting.

Alexie uses characters throughout the stories to present the theme of assimilation. In the story “A Drug Called Tradition”, Victor, Thomas, and Junior leave the party in Junior’s Camaro. “The car looked mean. Mostly we just parked in front of the Trading Post and tried to look like horsepowered warriors” (Alexie pg 13). Junior and his friends try to fit in and act “cool” like the white people by using a nice looking car. In addition to this fact, in the story “Because My Father Always Said He Was the Only Indian Who Saw Jimi Hendrix Play ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ at Woodstock”, Victor describes a photo of his father, saying that “my father is dressed in bell-bottoms and flowered shirt, his hair in braids, with red peace symbols splashed across his face like war paint” (Alexie pg 24-25). Victor’s father is dressed like a hippie. During this time, hippies were mainly white people, so Victor’s father is trying to assimilate himself with the white people. On the other hand, Revard ...


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... point where everyone is “dancing in the snow, fucking in the snow, and fighting in the snow” (Alexie, pg 10). No one cares about a hurricane approaching; they’re just living in the moment and creating new traditions. In Revard’s poem, the aliens need the humans’ “body-space to materialize our oxygen absorbers” (Revard, lines 9-10). The words “oxygen absorbers” imply a futuristic setting when the aliens attack. It also implies that the humans just take up space, making it seem like the humans aren’t doing much to try to stop the aliens, or at least welcome them.

Overall, Alexie shows us that the theme of assimilation plays a major part in the book, compared to the poem, which gives us little to no evidence of any assimilation at all. These two pieces of literature may have similar themes elsewhere, but as for assimilation, they are almost complete opposites.

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