When Sherman Alexie wrote “This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona,” he was exploring the experiences of Native Americans. In particular, he was interested in the ways that they grapple with the meaning of life.
Alexie grew up on the Spokane Indian Reservation in Washington state. He was exposed to many different cultures and perspectives, which helped him develop a deep understanding of the human condition. This is evident in “This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona.”
The story follows Victor, a young man who has just lost his father. He and his friend Thomas travel to Phoenix to collect his father’s ashes. Along the way, they learn about life and death, love and loss.
Now vs Then As time goes by, many civilizations and cultures are lost. New generations begin to overlook their own history while also writing their own narrative, whereas others fall silent in the rear, never forgetting where they came from or who they are.
In the story “This is What it Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona” by Sherman Alexie, we see a native American character named Victor going through a tough journey as he tries to reconnect with his culture and people. We also see him questioning the meaning of life, as he tries to make sense of everything that’s happening to him.
As the story starts, we are introduced to the main character, Victor. He seems like a regular guy, working at a gas station and living a simple life. However, we soon learn that he is actually going through a lot of personal struggles. His father has recently passed away and he is struggling to come to terms with it. On top of that, he is also facing financial difficulties.
In the beginning of the story, Victor is not really connected to his culture. He doesn’t seem to care about his heritage or where he comes from. However, as the story progresses, we see him slowly start to connect with his roots. After his father’s death, he starts to realize how important his culture and history are to him.
One of the most important themes in the story is the meaning of life. Victor goes through a lot of trials and tribulations, but he keeps going because he wants to find out the answer to the question “What is the meaning of life?”.
Overall, “This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona” is a powerful story about a man’s journey to reconnect with his culture and find the meaning of life. Sherman Alexie does a great job of exploring the themes of identity, loss, and redemption.
In “This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix Arizona,” by Sherman Alexie, the tale follows two guys who go to get the remains of a deceased loved one while learning more about themselves and their culture. Victor and Thomas Builds-The-Fire are the two main characters, both Native Americans and connected via a loved one. Despite being both Native American, their backgrounds and customs are very different.
Sherman Alexie was born in 1966 and is a Spokane/Coeur d’Alene Indian. He grew up on the Spokane Indian Reservation in Washington state. Alexie’s first novel, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven (1993), brought him national attention. In 1996, his short story collection, The Toughest Indian in the World, won the PEN/Hemingway Award for first fiction.
The title “This is What it means to say Phoenix Arizona” is significant to the story because it gives the reader an idea of what the story will be about. In the beginning of the story Thomas Builds-The-Fire starts off by saying “ Victor had never been to Phoenix, Arizona.
He’d never even been to Arizona. The only state he’d ever been to was Idaho, and that was only because he’d run out of gas just over the border” (Alexie 2). From this quote the reader knows that Victor is going to be traveling to a place he’s never been before which provides suspense because the reader doesn’t know what will happen.
The story is set inWellpinit, Washington on the Spokane Indian Reservation. This is important because it sets the scene and allows readers who are not familiar with Native Americans to understand their culture and traditions. Throughout the story there are many flashbacks that help provide insight on the characters.
Victor is a 32 year old man who doesn’t have much going for him. He dropped out of high school, doesn’t have a job, and lives with his mother. In the beginning of the story it is evident that Victor is struggling with alcohol abuse and has a negative outlook on life. This is seen when he says “I was born drunk and I have been drinking ever since” (Alexie 2). Victor is also frustrated with his culture and doesn’t really know much about it. This is due to the fact that he never went to school growing up and was never taught about his culture.
Thomas Builds-The-Fire, on the other hand, emphasizes a more intricate link to tradition. Thomas is well-known throughout the village for his prophetic visions, which emerge from his capacity to perceive and hear dreams or prophecies.
Thomas is always talking about the stories he envisions and is not very well liked because of it, but he does not seem to care. In one scene, Victor and Thomas are talking about the meaning of life. Thomas tells Victor that the meaning of life is “to be happy and to tell stories” (Alexie 21). This shows how important tradition is to him and how he values it. Victor on the other hand, has a more modern view.
He has left his reservation to go to college and get a degree. He is dating a white woman and does not seem to have any connection with his heritage. When Victor’s father dies, he has to go back to the reservation to take care of some business.
The characters and plots of Thomas Builds-The-Fire are not well-liked or popular within the community. Nonetheless, Thomas spoke to anybody who would listen, whether they were interested or not. He also conversed with inanimate objects such as animals, rocks, and even walls. Thomas Builds-The-Fire is a conventional nameakesn
The name Thomas Builds-The-Fire literally means “one who is a storyteller.” Thomas’ stories often had no point or moral, but they were interesting nonetheless. People would listen to his stories, even if they did not understand them. In fact, many people in the community found comfort in the fact that someone was always there to listen to their problems.
Sherman Alexie’s short story, “This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona,” follows the journey of two Native Americans as they travel from their reservation to Phoenix, Arizona to collect the ashes of one of their friends. Along the way, the two men learn about themselves and their culture, and come to appreciate the importance of storytelling.