Sherman Alexie 's A Native American

859 Words4 Pages
The arrival of Europeans and their expansion across North America negatively affected the Native American people’s culture, politics, religion, economy, and population. Sherman Alexie’s This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona is a story about the suffering, current social problems, and hope for a new beginning for the Native American people. Alexie, a Native American himself, skillfully narrates Victor and Thomas’s journey to recover Victor father’s ashes from Phoenix, Arizona, reflecting on the many challenges and difficulties from Native Americans inside the reservations. Alexie begins the story describing Victor’s personal and financial troubles. He immediately sets the conditions to lead the reader into the story’s plot, and at the same time creates a parallel about social and economical problems inside the reservation. By commenting “Who does have money on a reservation, except the cigarettes and fireworks sales people?”(2), he connects the dots between Victor’s economic issues and those living in any Native American reservation. This is not a message about resilience, but about the poverty and economical disadvantage Native Americans face every day. In a quote from his book The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Alexie speaks about the problem of poverty by writing, “Poverty doesn’t give you strength or teach you lessons about perseverance. No, poverty only teaches you how to be poor” (11). As Victor and Thomas’ journey develops, the writer uses
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