In the third, Thomas saves Victor from being stung to death by wasps. 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.
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.
The two men take a plane to Phoenix, and on the plane, they meet and talk to a passenger named Cathy, a gymnast who says she was first alternate on the U. In the last flashback, presented right before Victor and Thomas arrive back at the reservation, Thomas is all alone, an orphan and a storyteller to whom no one on the reservation listens anymore.
Though he is ignored, his Indian name links him with everything Indian and traditional. Both Thomas and Victor plan to travel to Spokane Falls to throw the ashes into the water. Thomas Builds-the-Fire initiates contact with her, and this impresses Victor.
They both go inside the trailer where Victor retrieves a photo album and a stereo. However, this tone is offset by the character of Thomas Builds-the-Fire, who brings into the story both hope and comic relief.
Having just lost his job at the Bureau of Indian Affairs BIA and financially unable to make the trip with the one hundred dollars given to him by the Tribal Council, Victor runs into Thomas Builds-the-Fire, who offers to lend him the money he needs on one condition.
In the second, Victor asks Thomas for a story, and he tells him a story about two modern-day Indian boys who could still be warriors but in a different way. In this flashback, all the Indian boys sit back and watch, and Thomas is saved only when another character, Norma Many Horses, comes along to stop the fight.
Estranged from each other since they were teenagers, Victor is presented as the modern Indian, a man who has lost faith in himself and in everything Indian and traditional. Alexie wrote the screenplay for the film Smoke Signals based on this short story.
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.
Dialogue is used extensively. 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. 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 Thomas crashed and broke his arm, he was a hero to Victor that day.Transcript of Sherman Alexie - This is What it Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona Phoenix, Arizona Nevada Spokane Indian Reservation Demographics: Population: 2, () Avg.
Income: $37, () History: "We are all given one thing by which our lives are measured, one determination. remember, it was Thomas who always had something to say. Once, when they were seven years old, when Victor's father still lived with the family, Thomas closed his eyes and told Victor this story: "Your father's heart is weak.
He is afraid of his own family. He is afraid of you. Late at night he sits in the dark. "This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona" by Native American author Sherman Alexie is a short story from Alexie's novel "Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven." The short story served as the basis for Chris Eyre's independent film "Smoke Signals." The opening of "This Is What It Means to.
Complete summary of Sherman Alexie's This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona. eNotes plot summaries cover all the significant action of This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona.
Victor Polatkin and Thomas Builds-the-Fire travel to pick up the ashes of Victor's father near Phoenix, then return to the Res in Washington State. In Sherman Alexie's “This is what it means to say Phoenix, Arizona” a man named Victor finds out that his father has passed away.
Being next of kin, Victor is responsible for gathering his father's assets together, which requires him to make an out of town trip. In Sherman Alexie’s “This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona” and “Dead Men’s Path”, the reader is given a glimpse into two different stories but share many similar characteristics of traditions.Download