What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona

Topics: Native Americans in the United States, Arizona, Friendship Pages: 3 (1186 words) Published: November 28, 2010
Sherman J. Alexie, is a short story written in the first person focusing on two Native American Men who grew up together on a Reservation for Native Americans but have been estranged from each other since they were teenagers. Victor who is the narrator of this story is a young man who lost faith in his culture and its traditions, while Thomas our second main character is a deeply rooted traditional storyteller. In the beginning of the story Victor, our Native American narrator learns the death of his father. Jobless and penniless, his only wish is to go to Phoenix, Arizona and bring back his father’s ashes and belongings to the reservation in Spokane. The death of Victor’s father leads him and Thomas to a journey filled with childhood stories and memories that will make them reconsider the state of their friendship. The author Sherman J. Alexie uses money, a lonely jackrabbit in the deserts of Nevada, and Thomas’s stories as symbols to bring on and let us think about the importance of friendship, and values such as loyalty and optimism.

Victor needed help from the beginning of the story. When he was penniless and needed to go to Phoenix, Arizona out of all his friends and acquaintances Thomas offered to lend him the money he needed even though Victor and all the other Native American boys on the reservation had been ignoring him for years because of “the same damn stories he was always telling over and over again”.(Sherman, 288) Thomas’s action was a true sign of friendship and he gave his friend the money without expecting anything in return. The only condition Thomas had, was to go with him to Phoenix, and, as he would reveal later in the text, the reason for that was that he had given his word to Victor’s father that he would “watch out” (Sherman, 292) for his dear son. Thomas was staying loyal to the promise he gave to Victor’s Father. Since they were kids, he has looked after Victor. He was always there to take care of Victor, as an example: “When Victor...

Cited: Kirszner, Laurie G., and Stephen R. Mandell. This Is What It Means To Say Phoenix, Arizona. Literature: Reading, Reacting, Writing. Boston: Thomson/Wadsworth, 2007. 287-95. Print.
Baker, Anaya M. "Literary Analysis: This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix Arizona, by Victor Joseph - by Anaya M. Baker - Helium." Helium - Where Knowledge Rules. Web. 08 Nov. 2010. .
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