The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven

The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven

Wife to James Many Horses and close friend to Junior Polatkin, Norma is described as a “warrior,” a “cultural lifeguard,” and “the world champion fry bread maker.” She grows intolerant of her husband James’s many jokes when he continues making them in the face of a terminal cancer diagnosis, and leaves him for several months to go and live with a “cousin,” who may or may not be her lover. She eventually returns home to help James die in peace. Norma teaches Junior Polatkin that “watching automatically makes the watcher part of the happening,” and that “even the little things matter.” Norma is a wild dancer, a sexual adventurer, and is critical of Victor, unable to forgive him for the bullying he perpetrated in his younger years.

Norma 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 Norma or refer to Norma. 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.
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:
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Norma Character Timeline in The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven

The timeline below shows where the character Norma appears in The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
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
...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 Norma, who asked Thomas why he... (full context)
The Approximate Size of My Favorite Tumor
Violence, Poverty, and Loss Theme Icon
Cultural Pain vs. Personal Pain Theme Icon
Community vs. Isolation Theme Icon
Love and Hatred Theme Icon
James Many Horses argues with his wife, Norma. He attempts to leave and drive off in a mixture of “victory and defeat,” but... (full context)
Cultural Pain vs. Personal Pain Theme Icon
Love and Hatred Theme Icon
At the Tavern, James finds Norma. The two reconcile, and Norma tells him that if he “say[s] anything funny ever again,”... (full context)
Memory, Bearing Witness, Storytelling, and Imagination Theme Icon
Love and Hatred Theme Icon
James recalls meeting Norma for the first time at the Powwow Tavern. The two connected instantly, and, after the... (full context)
Memory, Bearing Witness, Storytelling, and Imagination Theme Icon
Love and Hatred Theme Icon
James remembers his and Norma’s wedding. One of his cousins, “drunk as a skunk,” stood up in the middle of... (full context)
Violence, Poverty, and Loss Theme Icon
Cultural Pain vs. Personal Pain Theme Icon
Community vs. Isolation Theme Icon
Three months after Norma leaves him, James receives radiation treatments in a hospital in Spokane. The treatments are useless,... (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
James remembers a specific day—January 22nd—when Norma, “the world champion fry bread maker,” made her best fry bread ever. Shortly after their... (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
Back in the present, James receives postcards from Norma as she travels to powwows all over the country. The hospital releases him to the... (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 her husband James. He knew Norma,... (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,... (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 “rodeo queen.”... (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... (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... (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... (full context)