Jimmy and Rex Deal With Life’s Hardships

In Sherman Alexie’s The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven (1993), Alexie tells several different fictional stories that discuss different aspects of life on an Indian Reservation. One chapter, titled “The Approximate Size of My Favorite Tumor,” gives the perspective of how a man named Jimmy One-Horse deals with bad news about cancer through excessive hilarity and satire. At first glance, Jimmy seems to just be a lighthearted person, yet upon further analysis, it is obvious that this constant absurdity comes not from a joyful heart but from a burdened soul that uses humor as a coping mechanism for the pains it faces.

When Jimmy first tries to tell his wife about his cancer, he uses an amusing metaphor that his tumors are so similar to baseballs that he should go down to the Hall of Fame and pin them up for the world to see (157). Then on another occasion, he is pulled over by a white police officer and threatened for doing nothing wrong. Instead of trying to handle things in a serious matter, Jimmy begins to make fun of the officer by saying that he can’t wait to send a letter to his commanding officer about how the policeman was “legal as an eagle” when it was obvious the policeman was accusing Jimmy on the basis of his Indian features (166). In each circumstance, it is evident that Jimmy doesn’t do these things because he is trying to be amusing, but rather that humor is the only thing that makes the blatant racism and horrible cancers of life bearable. At one point he even admits, “Humor was an antiseptic that cleaned the deepest of personal wounds” (164). Jimmy’s constant use of comedy reveals that he is utterly incapable of truly dealing with and talking about the major life issues he is faced with and that all these jokes come from a heavy heart. His end goal is ultimately not to be fun, but to numb the pain that life has presented to him.

The inability to face pain is a common theme across literature and it manifests itself in many different ways. One example is in the memoir The Glass Castle (2005) by Jeannette Walls. In the text, Walls’ father Rex struggles deeply with alcoholism that comes from a place of deep hurt and pain. Not only was Rex frequently molested as a child, but he is also largely incapable of providing for his family (Walls, 2015). Much like Jimmy, Rex has abandoned the idea of facing the issues that plague his existence and instead tries to drown out the voices as a means to survive through life rather than live it to the full. Alcohol has transitioned away from something that is used for pleasure and towards something that is needed to weather a haunted pass and a destitute present. Alcohol, like humor for Jimmy, has become his only means of surviving the broken world he is faced with on a daily basis.

Rex and Jimmy are parallel in how they deal with the tribulations they are faced with: both turn to things that aren’t entirely wrong at their core but are made perverse by excessive use and dependence, both of their addictions have harmed familial relationships, and both have decided to give up on life and have chosen to reside in a place of coping until death finally takes them.

“The Approximate Size of My Favorite Tumor.” The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fist Fight in Heaven, by Sherman Alexie, Grove Press, 1993, pp. 154–170.

Walls, Jeannette. The Glass Castle: A Memoir. New York: Scribner, 2005. Print.

Nikolas Cruz vs. Antoinette Cosway

Mental illness has continuously been a very hard issue to talk about. Many people have varying opinions on it and where it comes from. Depending on the mental illness, it can be created over time or one can be born with it. The problem comes in when something happens and people do not know who the blame. This is the case with Nikolas Cruz and the Parkland shooting, which can help be explained by Antoinette in Wide Sargasso Sea.

In Wide Sargasso Sea is it very clear that Antoinette had a mental illness that was passed down from her mother. I do not know exactly what illness she had but there was clearly something wrong with her considering how she acted during Antoinette’s childhood. This rubbed off on Antoinette and made her especially sensitive to getting a mental illness. I think she had the illness before, but that Mr. Rochester definitely pushed her over the edge. When he found out that her family has a history of being “crazy” that is how he started to treat her and I think that is what drove her to actually become “crazy”. The last straw was being locked in a room for so long that she eventually snapped and started to see things that caused her to light the house on fire. In this case Mr. Rochester is mostly to blame and I think it is a fair assumption that he drove her to the point that she was at. Nikolas Cruz is a much different situation.

The debate over the Parkland shooting has many aspects, but one that stands out is the argument over whether this was a result of Cruz being bullied, or if this was inevitable. This question is part of the gun debate and whether an 18 year old should be able to purchase a weapon like that. People who are saying it was because he was bullied are trying to prove that gun laws would not have prevented him from getting a gun because he was “turned crazy” by his classmates. It is very clear that Nikolas Cruz has some sort of mental illness to be able to shoot up his old high school. Compared with Antoinette, Cruz’s situation is not nearly as severe, as being bullied in high school is nothing compared to being locked in a room like a crazy person. The question of whether bullying played a part in his decision to shoot up the school may never be answered, but a fair assumption is that he had a pre-existing mental illness and things that happened to him pushed him to this point. It was not just simply being bullied that pushed him over the edge and it is not fair to put blame on the children of the school who just lost many of their friends and teachers.

Antoinette and Cruz have similar stories, but Antoinette’s is a much more severe case of abuse. If there were things that pushed Cruz over the edge, it was not simply just being bullied. Thousands of kids are bullied in high school everyday. It would take a lot more than just bullying to decide to bring a semi-automatic weapon into their hallways and start shooting.

Reflection %6e1ef3c7

Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven is a collection of short stories that paints consistent and multifaceted pictures into Native American life with moving prose. In the introduction to the book, he claims that it is a “thinly disguised memoir”, letting the reader know that these stories are close to reality. By taking perspectives from all different walks of reservation life, it makes the short stories seem more representative of a majority of Native Americans.

The most apparent motifs are alcohol and dancing. All of these tie in to reservation life and Native American identity. However, those things are not so simple that they could be described and understood using simple stereotypes.

But the essence of the story doesn’t lie in alcohol. For Alexie, it was the characters, their struggles or dreams. Those are the things that resonate with our lives too. Powerful, because of Alexie’s “lyrical” prose. Powerful, because it was pertinent to your life too.

What are dreams? The most dominant dream is the characters’ Native American identity. It could be seen in the actions of the teenagers, imagining that they warriors in rebellious actions, or their faith in the basketball. It could be seen by how every sticks to tradition, and also in their stereotypical appearances. But it could also be seen in alcoholism, as an escape from their loss of native american identity, evidenced through nightmares and visions.

Dreams create struggles and struggles create dreams, as seen from the message of “trying to survive” that most characters have. I sometimes ask myself, what’s the difference between us and them? Deep racial discrimination. And perhaps… different dreams. But still life nonetheless.

Noah M Alexi and Erdrich

By analyzing Louise Erdrich’s poem, “I was Sleeping Where the Black Oaks Move” alongside “Lone Ranger and Tonto Fist-Fight in Heaven,” it can be seen that the depression that is so prevalent in Sherman Alexi’s novel is not a new thing. Alexi’s fairly modern depiction of Native American life depicts a depression which manifests in rampant alcoholism. However, the roots of Native American struggles precede Alexi’s account of life on the reservation.

In Erdrich’s poem, she describes the widespread devastation of Governmental action against Native Americans as a metaphorical flood. In the first stanza, she writes, “We watched from the house, as the river grew, helpless, and terrible in its unfamiliar body. Wrestling everything into it, the water wrapped around trees, until their life-hold was broken. They went down, one by one, and the river dragged off their covering.” This powerful imagery is mirrored in the first chapter of Alexi’s novel. “The Hurricane” that Victor describes is the same devastation as Erdrich’s flood. It is an anger that still resides in all Native Americans frequently bubbles to the top such as Victor’s uncles violently fighting.

In “Lone Ranger and Tonto Fist-Fight in Heaven,” there are many instances of Victor’s people longing to be Indians as they once were: free and true to their ancient traditions. This is displayed when Victor and his friends do some sort of drug and imagine they are dancing around a fire just as their ancestors did. This same longing is reflected in the Erdrich poem in the final stanza. “Sometimes now, we dream our way back to the heron dance. From the time White oppression began to present day, Native Americans have sought to return to their former way of life; a life of freedom and rich culture.

Though there are clear similarities in the Erdrich poem and Alexi novel; primarily, the anger and longing the Native Americans feel, the way these frustrations are expressed present themselves quite differently in the two literary works. Erdrich describes feeling sad and observing the “alone, hoarse-voiced, broken herons.” In Alexi’s novel, the characters mostly resort to drinking alcohol to deal with this sadness. Erdrich depicts a more metaphorical, internal sadness while Alexi portrays the very visible alcoholic tendencies Native Americans have turned to try and cope. Both Erdrich and Alexi reveal the sadness and depression felt by Native Americans and remind us that this is not a new problem, only different symptoms.

Lone Ranger and Tonto Fist-Fight in Heaven

I Was Sleeping Where the Black Oaks Move

When a Woman Works

When looking at the world of literature’s view of women throughout the years, writers often portray women as broken, weaklings. I was reminded of this while reading Wide Sargasso Sea because our initial main protagonist is soon our targeted villain, potentially because of afflictions due to gender. Antoinette was a girl who was emotionally abused by her mother who was too unstable. This affected her aging as she was often one who “wasn’t good enough”. As the novel progresses, readers see Antoinette’s continued lack of worth, as viewed by others, such as her husband cheating on her with her in the room beside her. The way in which she wasn’t seen as a valuable person and how she wasn’t able to stand up to her husband, portrays the role of women during this time. Since she was weak, Antoinette soon cracked under the pressure of not living to societal standards, hence why she is seen as weak.

The weak role played by Antoinette reminded me of the tale A Doll’s House, because in this story we too see a woman who is only supposed to be a housewife. However, when our protagonist in this tale does fight against the ways of society, she is knocked down for it. Nora secretly saved her husband’s life, and lived with this until the secret was exposed by the outsider forces of males around her. The fact that Nora is one character who we see from this time fight for her rights and as a result this backfired upon her. The writing of the tale showed women what would happen if they went outside the household rules, which Nora did.

These two women are prime examples of what would happen if a woman didn’t do what she was supposed to. Antoinette didn’t live up to her husbands and mother’s standards, so she was seen as a bad woman. Nora tried to be strong person in her household, going against patriarchy rules, making her a bad woman. Yet, now luckily women are saving factors for males in literature, such as Hermione in Harry Potter and Katniss in The Hunger Games.

Antoinette: Trapped in the Sargasso Sea

In Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea, Antoinette seems to be trapped her own version of the Sargasso Sea, the body of water referenced in the title.  The Sargasso Sea is located in the middle region of the Atlantic Ocean and is the only sea in the world that is defined by currents as opposed to land boundaries. The currents in the Sargasso Sea move in a continuous, cyclic pattern. Sargassum, a free-floating seaweed, is found throughout the Sargasso Sea and is the reason for its name. In the novel, Antoinette appears to be trapped in a never-ending cycle, a characteristic of the Sargasso Sea. Like her mother, Antoinette eventually goes insane when she becomes unable to cope with negative obstacles in her life, reliving some of the experiences of her mother’s unfortunate destiny.  The abundant sargassum in the Sargasso Sea is also a representation of the racial problems that trap Antoinette. Since Antoinette is a creole, she is not purely English or purely Jamaican, leading her to remain tied to both countries while being stuck between the two because she does not particularly belong to either, like the sea itself. The discrimination she faces in the novel, which is representative of the sargassum in the sea, is what prevents her from identifying with either country. The people of the Caribbean call her a “white cockroach” and the English call her a “white nigger.” The juxtaposition of these two characterizations of Antoinette demonstrate that she is unable to find a place where she fits in since she cannot fully associate with either. Figuratively, the Sargasso Sea is what traps Antoinette in this recurring cycle of insanity and prevents her from experiencing a sense of belonging to either the Caribbean or England, which is why the title is so significant.


Antoinette’s damaging experiences throughout her life are a detriment to her character. As a child, Antoinette recognizes that her mother is a woman who depends on a man’s affection for satisfaction. It was not until Antoinette’s mother remarried that her mother began to emerge from her state of depression and act like herself again. Yet, the burning of their house of Coulibri, the death of her son Pierre, and the leaving of her husband compromised Antoinette’s mother’s sanity. Although Antoinette is cognizant of her the experiences that drove her mom to madness, Antoinette tries to break the cycle and remain composed in the face of difficulty but is met with a similar fate. Like her mother, Antoinette relies on her husband for happiness and yearns for her husband’s affection. Although she continues to try to tell her husband, Rochester, that she was always “happy in the mornings” and that every day was a “fresh day” for her, Rochester still associates Antoinette with her mother and believes that she will ultimately become insane like her (Rhys 118). Rochester’s infidelity and Antoinette’s inability to connect with him physically and emotionally affect her like the events that compromised her mother’s mental health. Antoinette becomes an alcoholic and loses her sense of self, just like her mother. By the end of the novel, Antoinette is “tied to a lunatic for life – a drunken lying lunatic – gone her mother’s way,” just like Rochester had predicted (149). Antoinette will forever be connected with her mother and be unable to break the cycle, which is why she will be trapped, figuratively, in the Sargasso Sea, a tumultuous cycle that leads to insanity.


The sargassum that fills the Sargasso Sea represents the racial constraints that prevent Antoinette from identifying with England or the Caribbean. Due to the color of her white skin, Antoinette was unable to connect with the colored people on the island where she was raised. Even though Antoinette was a creole, the people on the island viewed her differently because she was partially European. She was referred to as a “white cockroach,” and could not maintain a friendship with her colored “friend,” Tia.  The unbridled hostility Antoinette receives from the colored people on the island demonstrates Antoinette’s inability to identify with those on the island. Due to Antoinette’s mixed heritage, she is fully unable to identify with the English either. When Antoinette’s mother saw her spending time with Tia and growing up like a “white nigger,” her mother became ashamed of her for not embracing the white race. As her life progresses, Antoinette’s mixed descent is one of the reasons Rochester is unable to love her. The discrimination Antoinette was subjected to by both whites and people of color is represented by the sargassum that traps Antoinette. Antoinette recognizes this dilemma and even questions her white heritage when she states that people “tell [her she is English] but [she does] not believe them” (162). As a result, Antoinette is entangled in the sargassum of the Sargasso Sea by the racial limitations imposed on her by the people of the Caribbean and the English, which is why she fails to fully identify with either race.


Rhys, Jean. Wide Sargasso Sea. W.W. Norton & Company, 1982.

Samuel Builds-the-Fire and “one chip of human bone”

Sherman Alexie begins his chapter “A Train is an Order of Occurrence Designed to Lead to Some Result” with an excerpt of a poem by a Native American poet named Ray Young Bear. This poem serves as an enlightening backdrop for the chapter, as many parts of the poem relate to the experiences of Samuel Builds-the-Fire. The poem, titled “one chip of human bone,” reads as follows:

one chip of human bone


it is almost fitting

to die on the railroad tracks


i can easily understand

how they felt on their long staggered walks back


grinning to the stars.


there is something about trains, drinking, and

being an indian with nothing to lose.


The title of the poem, “one chip of human bone,” emphasizes the graphic nature of Samuel’s implied death at the end of the chapter. At the end of the chapter, Samuel is passed out and face down on the railroad tracks as a train approaches. Samuel’s body is likely obliterated by the force of the train, and chips of his bones are likely spread about. Samuel has now become reduced to simply “one chip of human bone” to any passersby. Additionally, the connection between the poem and the chapter is further strengthened by the statement that the railroad tracks “rattled like bones in a stick game” as the train approached(Alexie 138).

The lines of the poem containing the phrase “it is almost fitting / to die on the railroad tracks” underscore how Samuel’s death on the railroad tracks could be interpreted as “fitting.” Samuel’s death follows his devastating firing from his job as a maid at a motel. After being fired from his job, Samuel goes to the bar and drinks for the first time, which is especially significant because “all his life he had watched his brother and sisters, most of his tribe, fall into alcoholism and surrendered dreams” (133). Up until this point, Samuel had resisted the temptation to drink, but losing his job has driven him to finally consume alcohol. Samuel spends a long time at the bar and becomes very drunk, and he eventually collapses on the railroad tracks. Samuel’s death on the railroad tracks could be construed as “fitting” because the tracks symbolize the path to a successful life. By securing a job as a maid, Samuel was on the path to a more successful life, but his boss firing him was the train that eventually killed him.

The following lines of the poem, “i can easily understand / how they felt on their long staggered walks back / grinning to the stars” emphasize how Samuel must have felt as he drunkenly left the bar. Samuel definitely had a long, staggered walk, as Alexie writes, “He staggered from locked door to locked door, believing that any open door meant he was home (Alexie 137). In these lines of the poem, Young Bear is referring to drunk Native Americans who could be contemplating suicide. Young Bear describes the disillusioned natives as “grinning to the stars” to imply that the suicidal natives, as is Samuel, are happily thinking about the fact that their death will allow them to leave life on earth and the reservation. Additionally, Ray Young Bear can “understand / how they felt” because he himself is a Native American who lives on a reservation, specifically the Meskwaki tribal settlement. Thus, he is likely familiar with stories of depressed, drunk Native Americans similar to Samuel.

The closing lines of the poem highlight the idea that the combination of “trains, drinking, and / being an indian with nothing to lose” can be deadly. The massive train is the ultimate and direct cause of Samuel’s death. Samuel’s drinking exacerbated the depressive emotions he experiences after losing his beloved job. If an indian has nothing to lose, they lose nothing when they die. The “something” to which Young Bear refers is the idea that these three factors can lead to the death of a Native American. Additionally, the fact that the word “indian” is not capitalized underscores the fact that Samuel, like many Native Americans, felt unimportant and neglected. The three factors stated in these final lines prove to be a fatal concoction for Samuel.


Alexie, Sherman. The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven. Grove Press, 2013.

Parker, Robert Dale. “To Be There, No Authority to Anything: Ontological Desire and Poetic Authority in the Poetry of Ray A. Young Bear.” Modern American Poetry, www.english.illinois.edu/maps/poets/s_z/youngbear/authority.htm.

“Ray A. Young Bear.” Poetry Foundation, Poetry Foundation, www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/ray-a-young-bear.




Matthew Snyder #3

Matthew Snyder

Sarah Boyd

April 1st 2018

Engl 129


Alcohol in Lone Ranger and Tanto Fist-Fight in Heaven


Throughout the novel, assortment of short stories, or even a collection of fantasies, Alexi’s experiences come off as very genuine and personable. This can be felt by through the level of detail and passion seen throughout each of the “chapters”. An important motif seen time and time again is the use of alcohol as a crutch for the protagonist’s shortcomings. Ironically, the use of alcohol only exaggerates these downfalls, making life on the Spokane Reserve that more redundant.

The book opens with a peculiar chapter that immediately demonstrates the previously mentioned motif. As Victor crawls in bed with his parents, both unconscious, he begins to like the alcohol tasting sweat off of their bodies. Not only does this paint a disturbing image, and is also disturbing as it details Victor and most Spokane children’s addiction to alcohol. This addiction most often carries into adulthood, as seen with Victor’s father; however, the exception can be made for James’ father who luckily became sober. Although highly scrutinized, I believe it was important for Alexi to include this to bring awareness to this issue that otherwise would have gone unknown. I argue that these addictions are allowed or even encouraged due to the United States’ lack of recognition or sympathy for those living in within the reserves in the United States. With a lack of funding, poor education, and minimal support, the Spokane children have little if any motivation to care about their future. In “The Only Traffic Signal on the Reservation Doesn’t Flash Red Anymore,” Victor tells the story of Julius. Although an aspiring young athlete, Julius still fell prey to alcoholism, ruining his chances of getting off the reserve. It is stories like these and many more that resonate with me as I finish the “novel;” leaving me somewhat disgusted by the conditions so many people, on and off the reserve, must go through.

Alexi has written an inspiring collection of stories from a perspective not possessed by many. He details the saddening stories of alcohol abuse upon the reserve; however, he does in a way that both entertains and inspires the reader.


Lessons Untaught

When I first studied the poem “Indian Boarding School: The Runaways” by Louise Erdrich, I was introduced to a dark moment in American history that I hadn’t run across in all my years of world and American history in school. The poem in centered around the cruel and unusual system used by the U.S. government in an attempt to “civilize” the Native Americans. Native American kids would be forcefully removed from their homes on the reservation and stripped of their native identities by being forced to wearing traditional clothing and short hair styles. “They were forbidden to express their culture.” The goal of these schools was to “Kill the Indian…Save the Man.” (NPR). Erdrich uses the view point of a runaway from one of these schools in her poem to describe the harsh realities of these schools. These runaways know they will be caught before making it home, but the little bit of hope given by the view “through the cracks in boards” offers enough motivation to at least try. (Erdrich).

Erdrich’s poem introduced me to an important moment in American history that without this class, I would have remained ignorant to. Just like the Indian Boarding Schools, many dark moments in American history are often ignored or breezed over in schools. This leaves many children completely unaware of past events which if taught, could be learned from and corrected or avoided in the future. However, many feel these true history lessons are too harsh to be taught to children.

Belissa Escobedo, Rhiannon McGavin and Zariya Allen discuss this very issue of the American education system in their poem “Somewhere in America.” These three girls give a powerful reading of the poem in the video below that calls out the injustices of the education system in the sense of it failing to offer any real lessons. As they describe it, “the greatest lesson you will ever teach us will not come from your syllabus.” “There are many things missing from our history books,” and often time these things are left out due to their dark portrayal of American society. (“Somewhere in America”)

They attack topics from sexual assault and Japanese Internment to banned books and gun violence. All topics which are ignored in our education system much like the Indian Boarding Schools as teachers are required to teach material assigned to them by their government. As the girls say, we are taught growing up that “just because something happens, doesn’t mean you are to talk about it” and that its “better to be silent than make someone uncomfortable.” (“Somewhere in America”)

Their poem describes the major issue in our education that limits our conversations and healthy discussions about diversity. This sort of censorship of diverse ideas or the dark history of America offer no real educational or societal value as without reading and discussing these issues, no progress will truly be made. Through the studying of poems like that of “Indian Boarding School: The Runaways,” true strides in diversity will be made.\


“Somewhere in America” -Belissa Escobedo, Rhiannon McGavin and Zariya Allen

NPR Indian Boarding Schools

“Indian Boarding School: The Runaways” -Louise Erdrich

An Analysis of Native American Societal Struggles Through “Wind River”

Sherman Alexie’s The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven(1994) is a collection of short stories that explore the grim nature of Native American reservations. Through tales of tradition and spirituality, readers gain a glimpse of the harsh realities that have plagued Native Americans for centuries. Likewise, Wind River(Sheridan 2017) details the horrifying events that unfold on a reservation in Wyoming due to the lack of law enforcement and prevalence of drug abuse, alcoholism, and violence. By analyzing the narrative and plot in each respective work, both readers and viewers can witness a violent cycle that plagues Native American reservations to this day.

Over the past several centuries, Native Americans have faced disease, genocide, forced relocation, and countless other atrocities at the hands of the U.S. government, who decimated their population by over 99%. Thus, there is a tangible tension between U.S. officials and reservation residents. This dynamic is clearly expressed in the initial meeting between Wind River Indian Reservation officials and the FBI. Such visible distrust of police is not unique to this film; It is commonplace in Native American society. The conservative rationale behind such a phenomenon is that Native Americans hate authorities because of the rampant crime that occurs in their communities. However, their behavior reflects a consistent trend of betrayal on behalf of foreign occupiers. For example, in 1763 Lord Jeffrey Amherst, Commander-in-Chief of British forces in America, wrote about the distribution of smallpox-infected blankets and handkerchiefs to surrounding Native American tribes.[1]Next, in the early 1830’s, the federal government forced over 100,000 of Natives to leave the southern states of Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, and North Carolina to relocate to “Indian Territory”, thousands of miles away.[2]Moreover, the U.S. government also conducted the forced removal of children from reservations, as they were taken to “boarding schools” which were truly constructed to “civilize” the next generation of Native Americans. A common punishment in these schools was cutting a child’s hair. At the surface, this seems like a strict way of disciplining and taming the children, however at a deeper level it can be compared to the Nazi tactic of shaving heads, which stripped an individual of a sense of identity. This cruelty towards children must be noted to truly understand the level at which these peoples have been legally oppressed by the U.S. government, but also to fully comprehend the levels at which such a cycle of violence was implemented in U.S. society.  In Wind River, the reservation police are hesitant to turn jurisdiction of the case over to the FBI because they are rightfully concerned that it will become another cold case. After all, what is another “dead injun” to the government? American history has been cruel and wicked to the first inhabitants of this land, and to cope with such a horrible fate, and incredibly high number of Native Americans turn to drugs and alcohol.

In The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, alcoholism and drug abuse can be seen everywhere throughout the collection, as Victor constantly struggles with his own inclination towards drinking. Furthermore, as an adolescent, Victor experimented with drugs like mushrooms to bring about spiritual flashes. These stories point to the possibility that drugs and alcohol have become so engrained into Native American society that they have tragically become part of the religion and culture as well. Additionally, in Wind Riverone of the first suspects in the murder of a reservation resident is a well-known drug abuser and troubled youth. A congruency between Wind Riverand Sherman Alexie’s works develops here, as the youth in both novels, including the basketball players in “The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven”, follow a dark path laid by their predecessors. Although Sheridan is white, his narrative rings true to the Native American struggle, as he highlights statistics that point towards a wilfull negligence on behalf of the government: The Wind River Reservation is Wyoming’s only Native American Reservation where the averagelife expectancy is 49 years, the unemployment rate is higher than 80%, and the high school dropout rate is 40% higher than the rest of Wyoming. Overall, the gripping cycles of violence, alcoholism, and poverty continue to grip the core of Native American society, and will further exist as long as there is no retribution for these people.