June 7, 2013
“This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona”
In the short story, “This is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona”, by Sherman Alexie, I looked at two characters: Thomas and Victor. Thomas Builds-the-Fire is a storyteller on a reservation who everyone ignores because they think he is crazy. Victor on the other hand is a guy who would not dare be seen talking to Thomas. Thomas knows that Victor is in need of help, but Victor will not admit it. I want to show how these two characters who are completely opposite of each other, come together during a time of need. Victor’s father has passed away and he needs to get to Phoenix, Arizona to retrieve his remains and other valuables that his father left behind. Victor asked his tribe for help but with limited funds the tribe already has they are unable to fully help him. Thomas sees that Victor does not have enough money to get him to and from Phoenix so he offers to help Victor as long as he takes him with him. Thomas Builds-the-Fire knew he had to help Victor; he spoke of how the wind told him stories of Victor’s father, how his father was not a strong man, that his father’s heart was weak, and how his father wanted to run away and hide. Throughout most of his adult life Victor mistreated Thomas. Memories of the two of them as kids clouded his memory from time to time when they spend time together traveling back to their reservation from Phoenix. As kids they played together but as Victor grew older he began to be like everyone else on the reservation and started ignoring Thomas. Victor beat Thomas as a teenager when he was really drunk and may have easily killed him if it were not for some lady to come and break them up. Thomas knows that Victor had mistreated him in the past but was still willing to be there for him when his father passed. Thomas told Victor that Victor’s father was giving him messages in his dreams he...
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