Palmer, J. (2017). IDENTITY FORMATION IN SHERMAN ALEXIE’S THE LONE RANGER AND TONTO FISTFIGHT IN HEAVEN, FLIGHT AND THE ABSOLUTELY TRUE DIARY OF A PART-TIME INDIAN. Unc Charlotte Electronic Theses And Dissertations.
AbstractJOYE PALMERIdentity Formation in Sherman Alexie’s The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, Flight and The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (under the direction of DR. MARK WEST) Poet, author, and filmmaker Sherman Alexie contributes an authentic voice to the problematic identity of America’s first natives marginalized as outsiders. Alexie writes about this experience from an insider point of view as a Spokane-Coeur d’Alene tribal member who grew up on the Spokane Reservation in Wellpinit, Washington. Alexie was born in 1966 with hydrocephaly that required brain surgery when he was six months old. Statistically, this type of surgery comes with high risks of death or mental impairment. Alexie survived the operation, but suffered from epileptic seizures, disfigurement and required repeated medical treatment throughout his early years. Remarkably, he survived his physical and mental challenges in the harsh environment of reservation existence, and thrived intellectually and academically. A prolific and award winning author, Alexie has been called one of the most important writers in postmodern American literature.Initially recognized for his poetry, Alexie emerged as a salient observer of the psychological impact of poverty, violence and substance abuse on generations of Native Americans within the genre of realism fiction. It is the intention of this thesis to examine the polemics of Native American identity formation in a collection of short stories published in The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven (1993), and two young adult novels, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian of a Part-time Indian and Flight (2007). Alexie’s observations from his early formative years project on to the young male protagonists in these three works, and deconstructs disingenuous portrayals of indigenous people with humor and penetrating irony.