In the story "This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona" by Sherman Alexie, two American Indians Victor and Thomas Builds-the-Fire together travel to Phoenix, Arizona. Victor's estranged father has recently died, leaving Victor three hundred dollars and a truck in Phoenix, Arizona, so Victor must journey to Arizona from Washington to retrieve the property. The Tribal Council of the Coeur D'Alene Indian Reservation were unable to provide sufficient funds for Victor's trip to Arizona. Thomas, Victor's old childhood friend assists with the money needed for the trip to Arizona. During the story, the author Alexie provides insight into the societal issues that harm American Indians on Indian reservations. The societal issues on American Indian
Sherman J. Alexie, is a short story written in the first person focusing on two Native American Men who grew up together on a Reservation for Native Americans but have been estranged from each other since they were teenagers. Victor who is the narrator of this story is a young man who lost faith in his culture and its traditions, while Thomas our second main character is a deeply rooted traditional storyteller. In the beginning of the story Victor, our Native American narrator learns the death of his father. Jobless and penniless, his only wish is to go to Phoenix, Arizona and bring back his father’s ashes and belongings to the reservation in Spokane. The death of Victor’s father leads him and Thomas to a journey filled with childhood
Sherman Alexie’s “This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona”, is not just any simple story! Alexie uses a central story told within a number of smaller stories, flashbacks from the past between the long lost relationship of the main characters Victor and Thomas. By using these flashbacks, which may be the most important element in this story, Victor goes through his own memories. Victor revisits his relationship as a child with Thomas and how they were once best friends. Through the Journey Victor and Thomas take, these memories help rekindle their past relationships as best friend. However the story goes beyond the relationship, there is a much greater symbolic representation. The title to this story has a great significance, symbolizes the journey that Victor and Thomas embarked goes beyond the relationship, there is a tie to their Native American culture. Alexie’s writing is much more complex as it is read. Carefully analyzing Alexie uses tone and symbolism to define the mysterious title, “This Is What It Means to Say
The character Thomas from “ This Is What It Means To Say Phoenix, Arizona.” is keeping his word by watching over Victor when he most needs it. Thomas is a guy no one really likes and talk to because he is always telling random stories, people see him as a crazy person. In reality Thomas is very humble, because after Victor beating him up for no reason one day, Thomas still decided to help Victor when he was most in need of it.
The book “This Is What It Mean to Say Phoenix, Arizona” by Sherman Alexie illustrate friendship and care with both friends then she goes deep into Native American belief and culture. The way she show it in the book is Thomas show that he still cared for Victor though of what his father was going through in life and still wanted to keep a stronger friendship bond. The relationship between Thomas Builds-the Fire and Victor is intriguing. The trait that Thomas has of constantly story-telling is how history is passed on in many cultures, especially in the Native American culture. Even though their relationship changed over the years, he is still the one that Victor takes with him to Phoenix. I think the fact that Thomas had the money to go was
Once the cave prisoners and Neo are released from their state of ignorance, they start to become more understanding of the outside world, as represented by the cave dwellers escaping the cave, and Neo leaving the matrix. As the prisoners are in the cave, watching the shadows pass on the wall, one of their prisoners is released from the shackles. Because of his natural curiosity, the prisoners turns his head to look outside the cave. Whilst looking outside the cave, the light from outside and will cause him to “suffer sharp pains; the glare will distress him, and he will not be able to see the realities of which in his former state he had seen the shadows” (33-35). Because of the looming darkness always present in the cave, the bright light of the sun blinds the prisoner momentarily.
However after awhile their eyes adjust and are able to see not only the shadows, but reflections and eventually people themselves, as Plato wrote “when he remembered his old habitation and the wisdom of the den and his fellow prisoners, do you not suppose that he would felicitate himself on the change, and pity them?” (Plato 870). After being outside for awhile they are eventually thrown back into the blinding darkness of the cave.
In the story “This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona” there was a man named Victor. In the beginning of the story Victor had lost his job and he also found out that he lost his father due to a heart attack in Phoenix, Arizona. Victor and his father hadn’t spoke to his father for a few years but he still felt the pain of his death because that was his father. Victor had very little money with no car and his family was poor also. Victor father had a savings account waiting to be claimed and he needed a way to get to Phoenix. Victor then went to the Tribal Council and asked for some money they could only afford to give him hundred dollars and so he took it. While Victor stood in line he seen Thomas Builds-the-Fire talking to himself Thomas
Thomas on the other hand was ok with knowing Victor would not talk to him again after their trip to Phoenix. “I know you ain’t going to treat me any better than you did before. I know your friends would give you too much shit about it.” (Alexie P. 518) He asked of Victor one favor only, he said, “Just one time when I’m telling a story somewhere, why don’t you stop and listen? Just once!” (Alexie P. 519)
Sherman Alexie’s short story” This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona” describes the journey of Victor to retrieve his father’s ashes in Arizona. Accompanying Victor on his heart filled journey, will be Thomas Builds-the-Fire. Thomas only agrees to help Victor because of a promise he made to Victor’s father at the age of thirteen. Despite the rocky relationship they’ve had in the past, the short story provides cultural context of how Native Americans can be greatly affected by poverty. Alexie’s story supports how the setting influences Victor and Thomas on their journey. Furthermore, Victor and Thomas’s actions were influenced by growing up in a Native American culture, and traveling in a different
Alexie’s story “This is What it means to Say Phoenix Arizona” is about the journey of two characters that have similar backgrounds but have two different outlooks on the world that surrounds them. Vince the protagonist of the story is able discover his flaws as a person, renewed friendship with a person who he Pushed away, and correct some of those flaws he discovered. The interactions between these two characters relate to some real life issues that Alexie has experienced. Issues include having trouble identifying ones cultural identity, dealing with a painful issue and improving oneself. Alexie discreetly reflected these issues in his short story making it feel natural and not forced. Having these characters deal with issues that actual Native
The prisoners have been in these conditions since their earliest stages of life. The cave, the wall, and the chains are all the prisoners have ever known. Behind the prisoners, there was a raised path. Above the walkway was a platform, where there was a fire burning, and in front of the fire, was a parapet, which as Plato described it , was like that of the screens Puppeteers use to hide themselves and have the puppets be visible . Each and every day, the prisoners see nothing, but the shadows of the objects and people passing between them and the fire. For their entire lives, the prisoners are exposed to nothing but those images and the sounds made by those walking around. These shadows are all they have ever known, in essence; these shadows are their only “reality”. As time passed, the prisoners would grow accustomed to these sights, later on the prisoners would match the objects with names and the familiar sounds to the images of the shadows (514; Appendix A). In discussing the allegory with Glaucon, Socrates toys around the concept of what could happen to a prisoner should they be released after having lived their lives in the cave, with the only knowledge the possess of the world, are the images and sounds by the wall.
Sherman Alexie uses a narrative point of view in his short story This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona. Sherman is a third-person limited narrator who narrates the story. This technique allows the characters of Victor and Thomas to reveal their personal thoughts with each other through conversations. The reader learns about Victor and Thomas Builds-the Fire through their words; past and current interactions; and, outsider reactions. In the short story the narrator reveals more about Victor because we are able to see his thoughts. The author builds a tapestry of stories in between the plot where the reader gets to learn about Victor’s and Thomas’ relationship. The narrator tells the story with only Victor's feelings. The audience learns
The story “This is what is means to say Phoenix, Arizona,” by Sherman Alexie, focuses on societal problems experienced by the indian ethnic group.
In Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave”, three prisoners are held trapped in a prison facing the wall, and can only see the world in shadows from the outside. One day, a prisoner is freed and experiences the world for the first time, realizing it’s more than just shadows. He runs back to tell his fellow prisoners but don’t believe him and think he's insane. The limited view of the caged prisoners limit them from truly experiencing what reality is. Plato questions in the passage, “How