The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven

The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven

Fry Bread Symbol Icon

Fry bread represents home and domestic comfort. A food created by Native Americans out of necessity when they were forced from their arable land, and made from ingredients given to Native people by the United States Government, fry bread as a traditional food is both a generational tie and a symbol of a painful inheritance. Nonetheless, throughout the text, it represents a connection to the home, to family, and to tradition.

Victor’s mother cooks fry bread during times of distress throughoutVictor’s childhood as a distraction from his father’s depression and alcoholism. Victor’s aunt remarks that she doesn’t know “where [his uncle] would be if [her] fry bread didn’t fill [his] stomach every damn night.” When Samuel Builds-the-Fire speaks of his childrens’ domestic success, he remarks that they “got their own fry bread cooking in the oven” before and above anything else. Victor describes putting on “a good jacket that smells of fry bread and sweet smoke,” referring to the comforting smells of his home. “Making fry bread,” one character says to her dying husband, “and helping people die are the last two things Indians are good at.” In a culture that clings desperately to its remaining institutions and traditions, fry bread represents an ideal of a Native American home that, sadly, many of Alexie’s characters don’t fully get to experience; a home full of good, plentiful food, good friends, and a calm and safety foreign to many on the reservation.

Fry Bread Quotes in The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven

The The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven quotes below all refer to the symbol of Fry Bread. 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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Fry Bread Symbol Timeline in The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven

The timeline below shows where the symbol Fry Bread appears in The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Crazy Horse Dreams
Community vs. Isolation Theme Icon
At a fry bread stand at a powwow, Victor tries to get his order taken. A woman follows him... (full context)
The Fun House
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
...the aunt, and she tells them that they’re “ungrateful,” asking “where [they’d] be if [her] fry bread didn’t fill [their] stomachs every night.” Frustrated, she leaves the house, standing in the yard... (full context)
All I Wanted To Do Was Dance
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
...father; they wave. Victor notes that they are both drunk. After the dance, Victor eats fry bread and drinks Pepsi. His parents fall asleep together, drunk, beneath a picnic table. (full context)
The First Annual All-Indian Horseshoe Pitch and Barbecue
Memory, Bearing Witness, Storytelling, and Imagination Theme Icon
Community vs. Isolation Theme Icon
Love and Hatred Theme Icon
...dreams, the narrator says, “crackle like campfire, put on a good jacket that smells of fry bread , [and] stay up late and talk stories.” (full context)
The Approximate Size of My Favorite Tumor
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 meal, the phone rang with... (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
...she knew her husband James. He knew Norma, he says, “back when there was good fry bread to be eaten at the powwow, before the old women died. Sometimes,” Junior says, “it... (full context)
Witnesses, Secret and Not
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
...about the disappeared.” When the narrator and his father arrive home, the narrator’s mother has fry bread waiting for them to eat. The narrator’s brothers and sisters watch television and play cards.... (full context)