The Protagonist Victor in “This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona” by Sherman Alexie

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Victor In the very first sentence of Sherman Alexie 's "This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona," you can assume that the main character, Victor, is facing a hard life. Not only did he lose his job, he also lost his father to a heart attack the same day. The story tells the journey of Victor and an old friend, Thomas Builds-the-Fire, traveling to Phoenix to pick up his father 's ashes, pickup truck, and money from his savings account. Victor did not have any money and neither did anyone else living on the reservation, "Who does have money on a reservation, except the cigarette and fireworks sales-people?" (page 275) Victor has to turn to the tribal council for money, but they are also low on funds and can only give him one-hundred…show more content…
Victor is continuously complaining about Thomas or making fun of him. When they are on the plane and Thomas is talking to the gymnast, “Victor was ready to jump out of the plane. Thomas, that crazy Indian storyteller with ratty old braids and broken teeth…” (page 278) I think that Victor is somewhat ashamed of his Native American background because he did not want to turn out like Thomas. Throughout the course of their trip, Victor begins to accept Thomas and understand him more. When Victor agrees to listen to just one of Thomas’ stories, “Just one time when I’m telling a story somewhere, why don’t you stop and listen? Thomas asked. Victor waved his arms to let Thomas know that the deal was good,” (page 282) the reader begins to see the new, more accepting Victor. The old Victor would be too afraid of what others were thinking about him to stop and listen to Thomas tell a story, but now he accepts who he is and also who his cousin Thomas is. “Victor was quiet for a long time. He searched his mind for memories of his father, found the good ones, found a few bad ones, added it all up, and smiled.” This is another turning point in the story because this is where Victor finally accepts his relationship with his father and is at peace. “This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona” shows the true value of friendship. In the later part of their relationship, Victor was a really bad friend to Thomas, but Thomas has been
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