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Comparing Black Elk Speaks and The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fist Fight in Heaven

Comparing Black Elk Speaks and The Lone Ranger and Tonto FistFight in Heaven

Traditionally, Native American Literature has been an oral genre. Although Native American Literature was the first American literature created, it has been the last to be recognized -and, to some extent, is still waiting for full recognition ( With the Indian being forced to assimilate, their literature was forced to take on a written form. Although the traditional way of storytelling has changed, Native American Literature has survived. In it’s written form, it is being shared with a larger population. Black Elk Speaks (Neihardt 1932) and The Lone Ranger and Tonto FistFight in Heaven (Alexie 1993) are two Native American works of literature that have gained recognition. Although they are similar in that they tell the Native American experience, they are also different in that they tell the experience from different times in history.

Both books tell the story of the Native American’s day-to-day struggles. Black Elk Speaks tells of the Indians struggles during the middle ’80s of the 19th century. The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven tells the modern day struggles of the Indian. Although the books are written at different times in history, they still tell of the prejudice, disease, poverty and day-to-day struggle the Native American faces in the attempt to live in two worlds. In Black Elk Speaks the Indians were fighting to survive and keep their land. The white man (Wasichus) took away the Indian’s land, brought in diseases, and killed their men, women and children. Although the Indians during this period in history suffered a great loss, they did manage to survive.

Sherman Alexie tells of the Indian…

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…ght in Heaven. New York: HarperCollins, 1993.

Kirkus Reviews. “ Editorial Reviews: The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven.” 1 July 1993.

Ts/book-reviews>. “Native American Literature.” 10 October 2000. archives/ethnicstudies/Indian_lit.html>.

Neihardt, John G. Black Elk Speaks: Being the Life Story of a Holy Man of the Ogalala Sioux. New York: William Morrow, 1932.

Walker, Jr., Theodore. “Vine Deloria, Jr. on the authenticity of Black Elk Speaks.” 24 March 1997 . 10/23/00.

Whitson, Kathy J. Native American Literatures: An Encyclopedia of Works, Characters, Authors, and Themes. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, Inc, 1999.

Young Adults Books. Rev. of The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven. 11 March 1996. .

Essay on Natural Symbolism in A Farewell to Arms

Natural Symbolism in A Farewell to Arms

As with many other authors of fictional novels, Ernest Hemingway was often noted for his use of symbolism in his numerous pieces of literature. Natural symbolism plays a significant role in Hemingway’s novel, A Farewell to Arms. This novel uses aspects of nature to structure the plot and provide symbols that replace human emotions.

Nature serves as a source of symbols which replace human sentiment or feelings, making the situation seem somewhat less serious. For example, when characters die, there is no mention of pain or suffering, rather it is simply stated that it is raining, or it is autumn. Substituting emotions with symbols of nature allows Hemingway to describe to the reader in a less informing manner what is actually taking place in the plot. He sometimes also uses symbols to completely omit references to attitudes and reactions towards situations. Ironically, these symbols sometimes represent the opposite of what their traditional meaning would be.

‘The storyline and character traits of this novel are largely affected by Hemingway’s use of symbolism.’ (Bender 55) This is established from the very first chapter, which discusses the rapid progression of the seasons from summer into autumn. Summer is signified by dryness and prosperity. This can be contrasted to autumn, which is identified with ill-fated occurrences and darkness. ‘…And in the fall when the rain came the leaves fell from the chestnut trees and the branches were bare and the trunks black with rain.’ (Hemingway 4) This changing of seasons is a minor transition related to symbolism, which sets the pace for the larger transitions of the novel as a whole. For example, the first fe…

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…o Arms.’ Professor Carlos Baker, author of ‘Hemingway: The Writer as an Artist,’ adequately sums up the use of symbolism in this novel. ‘Once the reader has become aware of what Hemingway is doing in those parts of his work which lie below the surface, he is likely to find symbols operating everywhere…’ (Baker 117)

Works Cited

Bender, David. Readings on Ernest Hemingway. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1997.

Fielder, Leslie A. Love and Death in the American Novel. New York: Stein and Day, 1975.

Hemingway, Ernest. A Farewell to Arms. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1929.

Weeks, Robert. Hemingway: A Collection of Critical Essays. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc. 1962.

Ernest Miller Hemingway: Writing Syle.

Symbolism and Motifs. http://www.

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