The power of a relationship

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English 150
17 February
The Power of a Relationship
In the movie "Smoke Signals" and the story "This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona" the theme I will be talking about is the complex relationship Victor has with his father and his friend Thomas. In this paper I will discuss how his relationship changes with his father, Thomas and people that he meets along the way to acquire his father’s remains and how the movie and short story use and develop this theme.
In the story Victor does not have much of a relationship with his father. After his father leaves him and his mother he did not visit his father and only talked to him once or twice on the phone. In the movie it is basically the same thing after he leaves but prior to this we see his father being abusive by physically hitting Victor for spilling his beer. Victor has a love hate relationship with his father sometimes he is getting along with his dad and likes his company, but other times he hates him because of his drinking and abusive behavior towards him and his mother. In the story, during Victor’s trip to see his father, Thomas tells him stories about his father. Particularly the story of Thomas going to Spokane and Victor’s father finds him there and tells Thomas that he has to look after Victor as a deal for helping him.
This story changes the way Victor thinks about his father and makes him have a more favorable view. In the movie a friend of Victor’s father recalls stories and things that his father used to say about Victor. Some of which wasn’t true like Victor winning a basketball game. The friend also told Victor that his father loved him very much. These stories change the way Victor feels about his father and this helps him let go of some of the bad feelings he has towards his father.
Victor’s relationship with Thomas in the story begins with them being friends and then ending up being acquaintances. Even after the journey to get Victor’s fathers remains, all the stories and the



Cited: 1. Alexie, Sherman. This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona. Boston: Thomas Wadsworth, 2007. Print. 2. Eyre, Chris, dir. Smoke Signals. Prod. Larry Estes, and Scott Rosenfelt . Miramax, 1998. Film. 8 Feb 2014.

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