Sherman Alexie's Subtle Sarcasm
Sherman Alexie illustrates a subtle sarcasm that is very consistent among his stories. He conveys many of the current social issues that seem to be constant among those of Indian heritage. His main characters all have very similar characteristics: very laid back and socially conscious. An important characteristic that his characters share is a sense of wit and cynicism which helps convey Alexie's ideals in many regards.
The first rhetorical device Alexie utilizes is his methophorical use of his titles. In the piece The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven he uses two characters from a movie that was very popular at the time. However he puts the two characters against each other despite them being allies in the movie. The Lone Ranger symbolizes the stereotypical attributes of white's ideal hero while Tonto symbolizes the Native Americans ideal hero. The fistfight in heaven could possibly symbolize the struggle over land. This sets an atmosphere for reader that places Native Americans and the Whites as rivals despite the current overview or veil that shrouds the situation like the false friendship. Alexie is keen on the implements that his title will suggest. This is also apparent with The toughest Indian in the world which also sets a concise point of view of which to begin his story.
Alexie does not attempt to disguise the racial unrest that is present among his pieces. The only description of the character's girlfriend in The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven is that she is white. He does not go into any dept about any of her characteristics. In his pieces he creates generics characters like this in many different fashions. He states that the clerk in the store looks like they all do and he then puts himself into this category.
His distrust of whites and authority is made immediately in the story. The character is content with the notion that the clerk is observing him simple because he is Native American despite the clerk also being Native American. He then also states a few sentences later: that he also gives his girlfriend the same look that the clerk gives to him which seems to show that he thinks that authority is corrupt. He shows his contempt for the clerk buy buying a creamsicle, which is an ice-cream bar that is orange flavored with a creamy white center, implying that the clerk is attempting to be white. This way he ties the corruptness of authority with being white. He also shows that this contempt of white authority is consistent among his people by telling...