this is what it means to say phoenix arizona setting analysis

this is what it means to say phoenix arizona setting analysis

“This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona” Analysis

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Victor is noticeably unemotional over his father’s death. The two were obviously distant and yet Victor fulfills his duty as a son and picks up his father’s remains. One could argue that he went only for the truck and the few hundred dollars his father had in the bank, though he did feel some kind of love for his father. This is proven when Victor admits that although he does not want to go into the trailer where his father died, he must because “there might be something valuable in there… pictures and letters and stuff like that” (419). The mundane tone Alexie uses emphasizes the sad routines one follows after a loved one dies; life continues.

Alexie’s use of transitions between the present and memories of the past represent the memories that often pervade one’s mind when the experience a loss. Victor remembers a less complicated time from when he and Thomas were still friends. Then he remembers how their friendship crumbles as he sides with the rest of the boys who call Thomas weird and tease him. He does not remember his father. It is common to try to think of anyone or anything other than the dead. These.

The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven Summary and Analysis of "This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona"

Unlike many of the stories in the collection, this story is narrated in the third person. Victor’s father dies, and he is devastated although he has not seen him in a few years. Victor wants to go to Phoenix, where his father lived, to close his father’s savings account and pick up his ashes, but he doesn’t have enough money to do so. The tribal council normally puts money aside for situations like this, but they are low on cash and can only give him $100.

Thomas Builds-the-Fire offers to lend Victor the money on the condition that he accompany Victor to Phoenix. Victor is reluctant because Thomas is known for being eccentric - he tells the same stories over and over again, and sometimes talks nonsense. They were friends as young boys but haven’t been close for years. Victor remembers spending the Fourth of July with Thomas and listening to his stories. With no other option - and some guilt over his behavior towards his once friend - he decides to take up Thomas’s offer.

Victor remembers a time when he was 15 and beat Thomas badly while drunk. The other boys watched and did not intervene. Victor only stopped when Norma Many Horses, an older woman, intervened.

On the plane to Phoenix, Victor and Thomas sit next to Cathy, a former Olympic gymnast. Although Victor is initially embarrassed at Thomas’s attempts to converse with her, Cathy is friendly and they all enjoy talking to each other. When the plane lands, Victor apologizes for beating up Thomas. They arrive at Victor’s father’s trailer. Because Victor’s father’s body was not found for a week, the trailer reeks and it is difficult for Thomas and Victor to go in to sort through the man's things. Victor recalls how Thomas helped him when he got his foot stuck in a wasp's nest at age 12.

Thomas tells Victor a story about how when Thomas was 13, he had a dream that told him to walk to Spokane so he could have a vision. Victor’s father found Thomas there, and drove him back to the reservation on the condition that Thomas promise to watch out for Victor over the years. Victor remembers a time Thomas jumped off a roof because he believed he could fly, and did seem to fly for a second before falling to the ground.

After collecting Victor’s father’s ashes, money, and car, Victor and Thomas drive back to Spokane. As they pass through Nevada, they note that there is no plant or animal life. They finally see a jackrabbit, and Thomas accidentally runs it down with the car. When they arrive back in Spokane, Victor and Thomas acknowledge that the trip probably won’t bring them closer together. However, Victor gives Thomas a portion of his father’s ashes. Thomas promises to scatter them at the waterfall in Spokane, and asks Victor one favor - to listen to one of his stories, just once.

“This Is What It Means. ” has an episodic, non-chronological structure. This means that the story is related as a series of anecdotes from different points in Victor’s life. Although the main plotline of Victor and Thomas traveling to Phoenix is related chronologically, Victor’s many flashbacks to his relationship with Thomas are not. By presenting a single narrative interspersed with flashbacks, Alexie mimics memory - triggered by free association rather than strict chronology.

Alexie draws on his poetry background throughout the story, especially in Victor’s conversation with the tribal council. The recurrence of the phrase “now Victor” (60) adds a repetitive rhythm to the discussion and reflects Victor’s frustration with the bureaucracy. In the scene in the Nevada desert, Alexie also uses personification, another technique often associated with poetry. Victor notices that the air is imbued with “emptiness and loneliness” (72). By giving the desert air human characteristics, Alexie emphasizes the differences between the places that Thomas and Victor visit on their journey and the reservation back home. For all its problems (which the other stories in the collection describe and critique in great detail), the reservation is still a place where life can grow and flourish.

Although “This Is What It Means. ” focuses on Victor’s point of view, it can also be read as a character sketch of Thomas Builds-the-Fire. Thomas appears in many stories in the collection, but this one gives a detailed explanation of why Victor remains friends with Thomas (and harbors a sense of grudging respect toward him) despite the fact that he dislikes him and his stories. However, Thomas remains something of a mysterious figure. Although most of the collection’s main characters - including Victor, Junior Polatkin, and Norma Many Horses – change and develop over the course of the stories in which they appear, Thomas Builds-the-Fire remains largely unaffected by his experiences. In the flashbacks to Victor and Thomas’s shared adolescence, Thomas demonstrates the same tolerance, love of storytelling, and otherworldly qualities that he has as an adult, unlike Victor, who has become a great deal more compassionate and responsible since he bullied Thomas as a teenager.

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This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona Analysis

(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

The seventh story within Alexie’s short-story collection The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven (1993), “This is What it Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona” continues the story of Victor, an alienated young Indian man. Dialogue is used extensively. Alexie wrote the screenplay for the film Smoke Signals (1999) based on this short story.

Told in the third person, mainly through the consciousness of Victor, the tone is bleak, even cynical at times, with small details carrying great weight. Though this story is more psychological than political or social, references to the BIA, Thomas Builds-the-Fire’s HUD (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) house, poverty, alcohol, and the reservation underscore the tragic history of the Native Americans’ interactions with the U.S. government and their psychological consequences.

In the first two sentences of the story the reader learns that Victor has just lost his job, that his father has died of a heart attack, and that soon Victor will be in great pain. However, this tone is offset by the character of Thomas Builds-the-Fire, who brings into the story both hope and comic relief. Although the reservation is presented as a place where history has produced poverty, alcoholism, and disillusionment, Thomas, himself a product of the reservation, seems to have transcended this. Though he is ignored, his Indian name links him with everything Indian and traditional. Like Norma Many Horses, who is described as a “warrior,” Thomas is, in his own way, “powerful.” Therefore, his connection with Victor produces the seeds for Victor’s transformation. In the same way that Thomas Builds-the-Fire’s name is meaningful, Victor’s name indicates that he will be victorious.

By using a central story told within a number of smaller stories, Alexie weaves a tapestry from the threads of the past, which allows Victor, through his own memories and his connection with Thomas, to rise above his circumstances. Thomas envisions Victor’s father rising like a salmon when he throws his ashes over the water of Spokane Falls. However, Alexie implies that it is Victor who will rise from the ashes, a young man who will be reborn, like the phoenix, from the flames of his own suffering and pain—flames kindled by his journey with Thomas Builds-the-Fire.

This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona Homework Help Questions

The thought "Desperate times call for desperate measures" is from a proverb that has no attribution to a specific author or speaker. This philosophical proverb, which is considered an English.

Sherman Alexie grew up on an Indian Reservation in Washington State. His story “This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona” comes from his experiences on the reservations. Unfortunately.

Victor Joseph is the main character in "This is What it Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona" by Native American author Sherman Alexie. The story revolves around a pivotal rite of passage, the death of a.

Thomas closed his eyes and this story came to him: "We are all given one thing by which our lives are measured, one determination. Mine are the stories which can change or not change the world. It.

The story of "This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona" says that when Victor and Thomas Builds-the-Fire were seven-years-old, Thomas told the story about Victor's father watching TV all night.

This is what it means to say phoenix, arizona Essay

This is what it means to say phoenix, arizona

The setting of the airplane adds meaning and understanding to the story. During the flight, we get to see the first person-to-person interaction Thomas Builds-the-Fire has with someone other than Victor. This interaction seals the lid on any conjectures we had about Thomas’s social skills, maturity level and understanding of his Indian ancestry.

Thomas’s social skills and maturity are shown greatly when he begins to talk to the beautiful gymnast. Thomas presents himself in a confident manner and isn’t shy or afraid. He even starts to throw in a few jokes into the conversation, which makes them chuckle. His maturity level is strongly presented when he tries to mock the gymnast and pull his leg above his head, which of course he failed in doing. Thomas shows his social skills and maturity level during this plane trip help to explain how he is treated on the reservation. The Indians on the reservation threat him as an outside because of his off the wall actions. His immaturity and his story telling seem to annoy other Indians. These people on the reservation have made him an outcast. Thomas’s actions on the plane trip exemplify why they do.

Thomas also seems to have knowledge of his heritage background. His pun on the plane about the Indians being shunned proves this. This seems to be important by the end of the story. At the end, Thomas decides to toss his ashes of Victor’s dad in the river, so that Victor’s dad will, “rise like a salmon…and find his way home.” This is an old Indian way. Indians like to use metaphors using animals and believe in reincarnation. This saying bring an ending to the story and a nice conclusion of the journey the to had took. If one wouldn’t recognize that Thomas does have knowledge of his Indian ancestry, they may think he is just weird. But, knowing his knowledge, we can begin to understand why he does the things he does.

The setting and action on the plane trip are important to the understanding of the story and its plot because it brings insight to the reader we hadn’t known or understood before about the characters.

University/College: University of Arkansas System

Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

Date: 3 July 2016

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