Mark Twain and Sherman Alexie are at once an unlikely and a likely duo. A vast gulf of time, culture, and heritage separates them. What likens them is their shared celebrity status and iconic, irreverent humor. This paper undertakes a comparison between Twain and Alexie, not to diminish the important and idiosyncratic role of Native American humor, but rather to bring it into conversation with white humor, perhaps approaching a multiplex American humor. A comparison of two of their early works, Roughing It for Twain and The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven for Alexie, to illuminate the ways in which both authors eschew the physical terrain of the West, instead monumentalizing a cacophonous, comical verbal landscape. Both authors, as public figures, also raise questions of what it means to monumentalize authors, and this paper gestures toward that dual pitfall and potential.

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