Conflict Within the Mind

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Conflict Within Thyself
Jermaine Kelly
ENG 102 072
Prof. Messina
Essay 1
October 2nd, 2007.


Sherman Alexie's story, "This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona", states mainly how two Native Americans struggle to adapt to modern times and their culture, and the conflict they endured within their lifetime. The story focuses on two main characters that embark on a cross-country journey to retrieve a dead father's ashes and belongings. Victor, one of the main characters in the story, must come to terms with his personal conflicts when he finds that his father is dead and he must retrieve his personal belongings. With no money and no adequate financial assistance from the Tribal Council to retrieve his father's remains, his one-time friend, Thomas Builds-the-Fire, offers him the money he needs to make the trip. On one condition only, he must bring him along for the ride. Once in Phoenix, Victor must confront his conflicted feelings towards his father and one-time friend, Thomas Builds-the-Fire, as well as his own identity. Yet, the conflict between Thomas and Victor leads to more substantial struggle, the conflict that Victor possesses within himself. The most apparent conflict in the story is the inter-personal conflict between Thomas Builds-the-Fire and Victor. As young children, Victor and Thomas Builds-the-Fire got into a fistfight. Revealed through the text in the story, it was told it was Victor who instigated the fight between the two because he was extremely drunk. Due to Victor's internal frustration, he unleashes his anger onto Thomas for no reason at all. Before the physical incident occurred between

Victor and Thomas Builds-the-Fire, they would often see other on the reservation but due to Victor's insecurity on how others would view him, he decided to befriend Thomas Builds-the-Fire. Throughout his tribe, Thomas Builds-the-Fire was hated for his visions and his way of life. Victor chided Thomas for thinking so much as kids because...
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