Omniscient Point of View in “This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona

Topics: Indian reservation, Fiction, Native Americans in the United States Pages: 6 (2080 words) Published: April 6, 2013
Omniscient Point of view in “This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona”

The story “This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona” by Sherman Alexie is a fictional narrative that reflects his experiences during his past and present life. The author allows the audience to become the social media that critiques his life when he evokes important episodes of his life through Victor and Thomas Builds-the-Fire liveliness. In this process, Sherman Alexis uses his omniscient point of view to tell his readers about the actions of his character; He exposes Victor and Thomas Builds-the-Fire as opposite twins and inseparable soul mates of awareness in his journey on his path to maturity (Blewster). His narrative portrays Victor as a reckless individual and elucidates Thomas Builds-the-Fire as the voice of conscience, an individual capable of coping with his condition as the storyteller and warlock of his reservation. The author’s point of view uses Victor as one of his characters in the story to whom he relates when he struggles to discover his purpose in life. At the same time, he uses a limited Omniscient point of view to identify himself with Thomas Builds-the-Fire as a mature and successful writer who has the capability to accept his past and who is capable to blend into American society without losing his heritage as a Native American (Blewster)

Through his omniscient point of view, Sherman Alexie approaches his audience embracing three important topics in his short story. First, the author illustrates through his narrative the socio-economic conditions that in the present time continue to affect thousands of Native Americans through-out Indian American reservations in the United States. Second, he allows his audience to relate Victor’s personage with himself by describing places, experiences and characters that were part of his real life in his younger years as a teenager. Finally by using victor’s negative behavior, the author highlights and enhances Thomas Builds-the-Fire as the main character of the story. Concurrently using his Limited omniscient point of view, he allows the audience to identify him as a living part of the story through Thomas Builds-the-Fire’s reasoning.

Sherman Alexie describes how his characters live life on the reservation. As an omniscient narrator he does a vivid rendering and gives the spectator a good insight into the social development in the native reservation where Victor, his friends and his family developed socially. He expresses to the audience how life is different culturally and economically. For example, his fictional story takes place in a Native American Reservation. The author portrays the poor economy, the depressive life and the lack of development within the reservation. He manifests to the audience how complex it is to live in a place of low social and economic development. Moreover the writer Gordon E. Slegthua reiterates Alexie’s critical representation and position in his article “Hurricanes and Fire”:

“ the short fiction gives a comprehensive representation of the entire Spokane Reservation community and includes a typically Alexie critical and cynical view of the systemic problems of unemployment, poverty, hunger, inadequate housing, violence, drugs, alcoholism, and premature death in a culture removed from its traditional moorings;”

Within the story; for instance, the narrator describes in a detailed way how Victor is without a job and does not have any money (Alexie, Literature 129). He also introduces Victor’s family conditions by stating “victor’s mother was just as poor as he was” (Alexie, Literature 129). After Victor’s father died in Phoenix Arizona , Victor struggled to bring his remains to the reservation When he turns to the council of the reservation asking for help, the council explains to Victor how the reservation is financially instable.(Alexie, Literature 129)

In America today, the majority of Indians on...
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