The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven

The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven

Another one of Victor’s childhood friends. Junior Polatkin is present for many of Victor’s childhood escapades, and he narrates a few of the stories throughout the text. He gives an account of his education both on and off the reservation, and ultimately travels to Spokane to attend Gonzaga University. There, he has a one-night stand with a white woman, Lynn, who becomes pregnant with his child. Junior drops out of school and returns to the reservation, and is only able to speak to his son on the telephone. Junior is smart and sensitive, and, through his interactions with Norma, reveals that he carries some past secrets he still feels guilty about.

Junior Polatkin Quotes in The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven

The The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven quotes below are all either spoken by Junior Polatkin or refer to Junior Polatkin. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Violence, Poverty, and Loss Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Grove Press edition of The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven published in 2013.
A Drug Called Tradition Quotes

Your past is a skeleton walking one step behind you, and your future is a skeleton walking one step in front of you... Indians never need to wear a watch because your skeletons will always remind you about the time. See, it is always now. That’s what Indian time is. The past, the future, all of it is wrapped up in the now. That’s how it is. We are trapped in the now.”

Related Characters: Thomas Builds-the-Fire (speaker), Victor, Junior Polatkin
Related Symbols: Dreams and Visions
Page Number: 21-22
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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A Good Story Quotes

It is warm, soon to be cold, but that’s in the future, maybe tomorrow, probably the next day and all the days after that. Today, now, I drink what I have, will eat what is left in the cupboard, while my mother finishes her quilt, piece by piece. Believe me, there is just barely enough goodness in all of this.

Related Characters: Junior Polatkin (speaker)
Page Number: 144
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Indian Education Quotes

I picked up a basketball for the first time and made my first shot. No. I missed my first shot, missed the basket completely, and the ball landed in the dirt and sawdust, sat there just like I had sat there only minutes before. But it felt good, that ball in my hands, all those possibilities and angles. It was mathematics, geometry. It was beautiful.

Related Characters: Junior Polatkin (speaker)
Related Symbols: Dreams and Visions, Basketball and Television
Page Number: 174-175
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

There is more than one way to starve.

Related Characters: Junior Polatkin (speaker)
Page Number: 177
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Somebody Kept Saying Powwow Quotes

Sometimes it feels like our tribe is dying a piece of fry bread at a time.

Related Characters: Junior Polatkin (speaker), Norma
Related Symbols: Fry Bread
Page Number: 199
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Junior Polatkin’s Wild West Show Quotes

Junior hung up the phone and walked down the highway toward the reservation. He wanted to imagine that he was walking off into the sunset, into a happy ending. But he knew that all along the road he traveled, there were reservation drive-ins, each showing a new and painful sequel to the first act of his life.

Related Characters: Junior Polatkin
Related Symbols: Dreams and Visions, Basketball and Television
Page Number: 242
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Junior Polatkin Character Timeline in The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven

The timeline below shows where the character Junior Polatkin appears in The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
A Drug Called Tradition
Violence, Poverty, and Loss Theme Icon
Memory, Bearing Witness, Storytelling, and Imagination Theme Icon
Community vs. Isolation Theme Icon
...inherited. He throws a party to celebrate. Victor, who narrates this story, and his friend Junior Polatkin are there, but they leave early go try some “new drugs” at Benjamin Lake... (full context)
Memory, Bearing Witness, Storytelling, and Imagination Theme Icon
...after he’s taken the drug. Thomas agrees. Victor gives Thomas the drug, a hallucinogen, and Junior asks him what he’s able to see. Thomas “poke[s]s his head through some wall into... (full context)
Memory, Bearing Witness, Storytelling, and Imagination Theme Icon
Junior asks Victor to give him some of the drug. Though Junior is driving, Victor obliges.... (full context)
Memory, Bearing Witness, Storytelling, and Imagination Theme Icon
Junior spins the car in circles through the empty fields near the lake, and Victor tells... (full context)
Memory, Bearing Witness, Storytelling, and Imagination Theme Icon
Cultural Pain vs. Personal Pain Theme Icon
Community vs. Isolation Theme Icon
The boys walk down to the lake. Thomas puts his feet in the water, and Junior and Victor sit on the hood of the car while the drugs wear off, drinking... (full context)
Violence, Poverty, and Loss Theme Icon
Memory, Bearing Witness, Storytelling, and Imagination Theme Icon
Cultural Pain vs. Personal Pain Theme Icon
Community vs. Isolation Theme Icon
Love and Hatred Theme Icon
...Thomas as children; he notes that Thomas has always been kind to both him and Junior. Thomas turns around and yells to Victor and Junior, telling them “not to slow dance... (full context)
Memory, Bearing Witness, Storytelling, and Imagination Theme Icon
Community vs. Isolation Theme Icon
Victor and Junior stay at the lake until the sun comes up, experiencing residual visions. The following day,... (full context)
This is What it Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona
Violence, Poverty, and Loss Theme Icon
Memory, Bearing Witness, Storytelling, and Imagination Theme Icon
Community vs. Isolation Theme Icon
Love and Hatred Theme Icon
...a fistfight. Victor, intoxicated, beat Thomas up “for no reason at all.” Their friends, including Junior, stood by and watched, until Norma rescued Thomas. The boys obeyed the “powerful” and warrior-like... (full context)
A Good Story
Memory, Bearing Witness, Storytelling, and Imagination Theme Icon
Cultural Pain vs. Personal Pain Theme Icon
Community vs. Isolation Theme Icon
Love and Hatred Theme Icon
The narrator, Junior—perhaps Junior Polatkin, but, as Victor once pointed out, “everybody” on the reservation is called Junior—pretends... (full context)
Violence, Poverty, and Loss Theme Icon
Memory, Bearing Witness, Storytelling, and Imagination Theme Icon
Community vs. Isolation Theme Icon
Love and Hatred Theme Icon
Junior’s mother hums a song and continues sewing. Junior asks her if she liked the story;... (full context)
Indian Education
Violence, Poverty, and Loss Theme Icon
Cultural Pain vs. Personal Pain Theme Icon
Community vs. Isolation Theme Icon
In the first grade, Junior Polatkin, who narrates this story, is bullied, beat up, and called names: Junior Falls Down,... (full context)
Violence, Poverty, and Loss Theme Icon
Cultural Pain vs. Personal Pain Theme Icon
Community vs. Isolation Theme Icon
In second grade, Junior is subjected to hatred and cruelty at the hands of Betty Towle, a white missionary... (full context)
Memory, Bearing Witness, Storytelling, and Imagination Theme Icon
Cultural Pain vs. Personal Pain Theme Icon
Community vs. Isolation Theme Icon
In the third grade, Junior is caught drawing a “stick Indian taking a piss,” and the art is confiscated. He... (full context)
Violence, Poverty, and Loss Theme Icon
Memory, Bearing Witness, Storytelling, and Imagination Theme Icon
Cultural Pain vs. Personal Pain Theme Icon
Community vs. Isolation Theme Icon
One of Junior’s fourth-grade teachers tells him he should be a doctor, “so [he] can heal people.” Junior... (full context)
Violence, Poverty, and Loss Theme Icon
Memory, Bearing Witness, Storytelling, and Imagination Theme Icon
Community vs. Isolation Theme Icon
In fifth grade, Junior plays basketball “for the first time.” He misses his first shot, but the ball in... (full context)
Violence, Poverty, and Loss Theme Icon
Memory, Bearing Witness, Storytelling, and Imagination Theme Icon
Cultural Pain vs. Personal Pain Theme Icon
Community vs. Isolation Theme Icon
...walking into the reservation school, he gets in a fight and breaks another kid’s nose. Junior says that Randy was his “soon-to-be first and best friend,” who taught him “the most... (full context)
Memory, Bearing Witness, Storytelling, and Imagination Theme Icon
Cultural Pain vs. Personal Pain Theme Icon
Community vs. Isolation Theme Icon
Love and Hatred Theme Icon
In seventh grade, Junior kisses a white girl, and feels he is saying “good-byes to [his] entire tribe.” When... (full context)
Violence, Poverty, and Loss Theme Icon
Memory, Bearing Witness, Storytelling, and Imagination Theme Icon
Cultural Pain vs. Personal Pain Theme Icon
Community vs. Isolation Theme Icon
In eighth grade, Junior transfers to a junior high school in a white farm town. From the boys’ bathroom,... (full context)
Memory, Bearing Witness, Storytelling, and Imagination Theme Icon
Cultural Pain vs. Personal Pain Theme Icon
Community vs. Isolation Theme Icon
In ninth grade, Junior plays a long, tiring basketball game in an overheated gym. Later that night, there is... (full context)
Violence, Poverty, and Loss Theme Icon
Memory, Bearing Witness, Storytelling, and Imagination Theme Icon
Cultural Pain vs. Personal Pain Theme Icon
Community vs. Isolation Theme Icon
In tenth grade, Junior gets his driver’s license on the same day that one of his neighbors commits suicide... (full context)
Violence, Poverty, and Loss Theme Icon
Cultural Pain vs. Personal Pain Theme Icon
Community vs. Isolation Theme Icon
The morning after losing a basketball game for his eleventh-grade team, the Indians, Junior reads the sports page of the local newspaper: “INDIANS LOSE AGAIN,” it says. (full context)
Memory, Bearing Witness, Storytelling, and Imagination Theme Icon
Cultural Pain vs. Personal Pain Theme Icon
Community vs. Isolation Theme Icon
Junior graduates from twelfth grade as valedictorian of his “farm town high school,” and has trouble... (full context)
Somebody Kept Saying Powwow
Violence, Poverty, and Loss Theme Icon
Memory, Bearing Witness, Storytelling, and Imagination Theme Icon
Cultural Pain vs. Personal Pain Theme Icon
Community vs. Isolation Theme Icon
Junior Polatkin describes his friendship with Norma, noting that he knew her long before she knew... (full context)
Memory, Bearing Witness, Storytelling, and Imagination Theme Icon
Cultural Pain vs. Personal Pain Theme Icon
Community vs. Isolation Theme Icon
At a powwow, Norma and Junior sit and talk; everyone, he notes, wants to spend time with Norma. Norma, he says,... (full context)
Violence, Poverty, and Loss Theme Icon
Memory, Bearing Witness, Storytelling, and Imagination Theme Icon
Community vs. Isolation Theme Icon
Love and Hatred Theme Icon
Junior tells Norma about his dream, and they talk about horses. Norma, Junior says, is a... (full context)
Memory, Bearing Witness, Storytelling, and Imagination Theme Icon
Community vs. Isolation Theme Icon
Norma, Junior says, used to be the sports reporter for the tribal newspaper. He saved a clipping... (full context)
Memory, Bearing Witness, Storytelling, and Imagination Theme Icon
Cultural Pain vs. Personal Pain Theme Icon
Community vs. Isolation Theme Icon
Norma lives her whole life on the reservation, but when Junior returns from college, she wants to know what the world “out there” is like. Junior... (full context)
Violence, Poverty, and Loss Theme Icon
Memory, Bearing Witness, Storytelling, and Imagination Theme Icon
Cultural Pain vs. Personal Pain Theme Icon
Community vs. Isolation Theme Icon
Love and Hatred Theme Icon
Norma asks Junior what the “worst thing [he] ever did” was, and he describes a college basketball game... (full context)
Junior Polatkin’s Wild West Show
Violence, Poverty, and Loss Theme Icon
Memory, Bearing Witness, Storytelling, and Imagination Theme Icon
Community vs. Isolation Theme Icon
Love and Hatred Theme Icon
Junior Polatkin has recurring dreams of being a gunfighter named Sonny Six-Gun. In his dreams he... (full context)
Memory, Bearing Witness, Storytelling, and Imagination Theme Icon
Community vs. Isolation Theme Icon
A few weeks later, it is Christmas break, and Junior has stayed behind in the Gonzaga dorms, where he lives in solitude, checks his mail... (full context)
Memory, Bearing Witness, Storytelling, and Imagination Theme Icon
Cultural Pain vs. Personal Pain Theme Icon
Community vs. Isolation Theme Icon
Love and Hatred Theme Icon
Lynn tells Junior that she notices he drinks a lot at parties. She asks him if it is... (full context)
Community vs. Isolation Theme Icon
Love and Hatred Theme Icon
Junior imagines that he and Lynn are starring in a Western; they return to his dorm... (full context)
Violence, Poverty, and Loss Theme Icon
Memory, Bearing Witness, Storytelling, and Imagination Theme Icon
Cultural Pain vs. Personal Pain Theme Icon
Community vs. Isolation Theme Icon
Love and Hatred Theme Icon
...eyes.” She names him Sean Casey, and he talks at one and reads at three. Junior, however, “only learn[s these] details through the mail, random phone calls, and timed visits.” Lynn’s... (full context)