Arizona Analysis

Topics: Sherman Alexie, Short story, Spokane people Pages: 4 (1443 words) Published: November 25, 2011
This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona Analysis
This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona, is a short story written in first person by Sherman Alexie, who is indeed a Native American from the Spokane Indian Reservation. Victor Joseph is the main character of the short story and is also known to be the narrator of This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona. Victor is a young man who has lost faith in his tribal traditions. The second main character of the story happens to be a young man who goes by the name of Thomas Builds-the-Fire. Thomas sanctifies his roots of the tribe and continues to practice his customs each day whereas Victor, who is completely opposite, continues to throw his traditions under the bus. Victor and Thomas happened to be great childhood friends in the past but their friendship started to deteriorate with age due Thomas’s exasperation of never ending stories. Will a tragedy in life rekindle an old friendship and allow Victor to relive his tribal traditions; or will the story end in an uproar of devastation and continue to lead Victor down the same path without even the slightest glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel? This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona, is a rather short story which begins by explaining the death of his father. Victor was going through a trying time. He had recently just lost his job and then had to experience the death of his father which was caused by a heart attack. His father and himself hadn’t seen each other within the past couple of years but still kept in contact over the phone. During this time of despair, Victor’s wealth was sparse to none. Being that he was a part of a tribe, he decided to turn to the tribal council with hopes they would have enough money to lend him to bring his father back from Phoenix for proper burial in the reservation. His high hopes were soon shot down and was left with the offer of only 100 dollars to travel to phoenix and attain the remains of his father....
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