Smoke Signals Comparison

Superior Essays
Looking at Sherman Alexie’s short story “This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona” and its film adaptation “Smoke Signals” directed by Chris Eyre we will concentrate on the dynamics of the film and story by differentiating and analysing the two. For both the story and film adaptation we know the plot remains the same and the motive of the characters also remain identical. Studying both pieces of work, we understand that Victor’s character is in a position of dire need. He is on a journey to recover, both mentally and physically so he can carry on with his life. In these works, we witness the overcoming of personal and cultural struggles. With this film adaptation and short story, we will break down the two to get a clearer understanding …show more content…
We think story-telling played a role in character development for Victor. In the short story, more light is shown on Victor and Thomas’s relationship when they were younger through flashbacks. With these flashbacks we understand why the characters are the way they are now in the present. We see less anger and hostility from Victor as his older self towards Thomas in the short story. We can also infer that maybe this is a growing respect for Thomas from Victor, due to Thomas’s way of being able to remain positive despite his struggles. There is also a sense of guilt coming from Victor for the way he treated Thomas in their adolescence. Sherman Alexie writes, the character in “This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, voices, “I never told you I was sorry for beating you up that time.” (184). When it comes to the film adaptation, seen is a less delicate and harsher Victor. With Thomas’s stories being told in the film, there was a more humour aspect coming from them. So it is to be believed, that the Native American misjudgement was incorporated in this rendition of the story. Sherman Alexie states, “One of the biggest misconceptions about Indians is that we’re stoic, but humour is an essential part of our culture.” (180). we can say that the role of storytelling somewhat serves the same purpose in both pieces of work. They both help us to understand the …show more content…
We can definitely tie the symbol to both characters, Victor and Thomas, in the story meaning something different for the both of them. First thought, is the ashes of Victor’s father. Believed to be this is Victor’s way of continuing on with his life, moving past the pain his father has left him. The plot of this story is for Victor to collect his father’s remains, but this is not what the story is about. It’s about how this will help Victor and how he’ll grow from his struggles. The story briefly mentions how absent Victor’s father was and someone may deduce that that would cause hatred towards one, but with Victor, there is this sense of longing where as in the film it is more so resentment coming from him. Sherman Alexie composes, the narrator in “This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona”, indicates, Victor hadn’t seen his father in a few years, had only talked to him on the telephone once or twice, but there still was a genetic pain, which was as real and immediate as a broken bone.” (181). so, we can say that once a fire burns out, there is nothing left but ashes, and from nothing you have to start fresh. Those ashes represent Victor’s loss of his father but also a start for him. They represent a way of Victor letting go, accepting what is and what was without letting it hinder him. For Thomas, as called “Thomas- Builds-the-Fire in the story, his name itself is a way to

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