Women in The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven by Sherman Alexie

Women in The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven by Sherman Alexie

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Women in The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven by Sherman Alexie


A warrior is recognized as sonmeone who battles for his/her beliefs. Even after receiving mortal wounds many times, such a person never leaves the battlefield. However, the inspiring and metaphorical idea of a warrior can certainly extend beyond the actual battlefield, and into the universal battle of living life. A woman must face this world like a warrior. She must endure the pain of a past that oppressed her, the adversity of a present that is only beginning to understand her, and a future that will continuously test her. From the beginning of time, Native American women have been a driving force in their cultures, retaining their immense strength throughout centuries of exploitation. Mothers and grandmothers held the family together with their gentle power, and medicine women were the local psychologists, therapists, physicians, and marriage counselors to entire tribes. In The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, Sherman Alexie's short story collection about life on the Spokane Indian reservation, Alexie depicts characters that are world-wearied and heavy with 500 years worth of humiliation and rejection. They have lived their lives in the confines of the reservation, resorting to alcohol, depression, and frustration. However, these women seek to hold together, both spiritually and generatively, the fabric of a culture that is assaulted on all sides. They are warrior-like in their determination to battle the hardships of their lives, all while holding their families and their heritage together with great compassion and spirit.

Although one may argue that many of these women were unable to avoid the inevitable feeling of hopelessness, one can see with a deeper look into the reservation that they firmly wrestle the battles that face them. The most immediate hardships that many of the women in Alexie's stories face are the struggles to hold together their crumbling families. For example, Victor's mother must endure the various 'storms'; of her life: her husband's alcoholism, the lack of basic necessities, her own depression, and the overall desperation of the household. However, she is able to give her family a sense of hope. 'During all these kinds of tiny storms, Victor's mother would rise with her medicine and magic?She would comb Victor's braids into dreams.'; (p. 5) ...


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...e women face their opposition with a warrior's strength; yet also with a maternal-like gentle compassion. Whether it is picking up the pieces of a broken family, reaching out to a community, or having pride in one's heritage and background, the women all show a sincere dedication that is truly admirable. A woman's life is never easy, and the additional struggles of being a Native American make life on the Spokane reservation even harder. But these women bless the shields of their warriors as they face the unjust world, and they look towards the future with a warrior's spirit themselves.

Summary Paragraph: The women characters in Sherman Alexie's The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven all show great compassion and warrior-like strength, despite the many trials that face them. They are able to hold their families together and give them some sense of hope. These women also extend their dedication into their broken communities by offering kindness and refuge. However, the greatest internal conflict that they face with strength is taking pride in their own heritage and spreading this pride. They face all of the innumerable opponents in life with a warrior's spirit.

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