Sherman Alexie's This Is What It Means To Say Phoenix, Arizona

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Franki Paul Mrs. Dady CiHS Introduction to Literature, Hour 3 28 October 2014 Childhood Friends Through a flashback, symbolism, and themes, Sherman Alexie’s “This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona” shows how the death of one person can lead to a change of heart and the rekindling of a lost relationship in another. The only one who can help Victor when his father dies is a childhood friend he has been avoiding for years. “This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona” by Sherman Alexie keeps its focus on the rekindling of the relationship between Victor and Thomas Builds-the-Fire, young Native American men who grew up together on the Spokane Indian Reservation in Washington. After the news of Victor’s father’s death, the two men journey to Phoenix, Arizona to retrieve his belongings and his ashes. Victor lost his job at the Bureau of Indian Affairs and is unable to pay for the trip south by himself, even after the Tribal Council gave him one hundred dollars. Thomas Builds-the-Fire offers to borrow him the money, but under the condition that he is able to travel with Victor.…show more content…
They take a plane to Phoenix, on which they meet and talk to Cathy, a gymnast who was first alternate on the 1980 U.S. Olympic team. After arriving at his father’s trailer, Victor regains his father’s savings, pick-up truck, and ashes. Back at their reservation in Washington, Victor gives Thomas Builds-the-Fire half of his father’s ashes. Both of the men plan to go to Spokane Falls to sprinkle the ashes in the water. Alexie ends the story with Victor promising Thomas that one time, “just once” (519), he will stop and listen to one of his stories. When Victor asks Thomas about remembering his father, Thomas thinks back to when he realized that Victor’s father knew he would need help at some point. He then proceeds to tell Victor

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