This Is What It Means To Say Phoenix Arizona Essay

Improved Essays
Native Americans in Today’s Society
Peace is not a constant state which is easy to achieve. Every person will find moments of peace throughout their lives, but to truly feel peace is difficult to achieve. “This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona” is a moving story about a young man’s journey to finding this peace within himself. Victor,whose father has just passed away due to a heart attack, is planning a trip to Phoenix, Arizona so that he may claim his father’s savings account. To do so, he must find the funds to travel from his home of Spokane Indian Reservation to Phoenix, Arizona. Victor has just lost his job working at the Bureau of Indian Affairs, so the funds for his trip prove to be difficult to pull together. Luckily, living
…show more content…
They discussed their childhood as friends, which brought different occasions (such as when Victor was drunk and beat Thomas up for no good reason) back to the surface. When the reader sees into the past of the two boy’s friendship, he or she has a better understanding for why the boys act the way they do now. When Victor almost couldn’t go into his father’s home, Thomas Builds-the-Fire told him that he would go inside with Victor. He did not just expect Victor to go in there by himself. Once the boys collected a few items, they left with Victor’s father’s ashes and headed back to their home at Spokane Indian Reservation in Washington. Upon arrival, Victor halved his father’s ashes with Thomas, representing that the two of them would always be connected. “This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona” is a wonderful story which shows the struggles that one may encounter through his or her life. Although all may struggle, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. Both Victor and Thomas were raised within Spokane Indian Reservation, meaning that they were each raised with similar teachings from their parents. Throughout “This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona,” one is able to see the lifestyle and behaviour of

Related Documents

  • Improved Essays

    Victor’s person vs. self conflictions were usually involving what would be better for his well-being. Victor was conflicted over whether to bring Thomas Builds-The-Fire with him to see his dead father in Phoenix. “Victor went home with his one hundred dollars and sat at the kitchen table. He held his head in his hands and thought about Thomas Builds-The-Fire …” (Alexie 34). Victor had also had person vs. self conflictions when the Tribal Council wouldn’t give him money for his trip to Phoenix.…

    • 712 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    "(Alexie, 212) Thomas explains to Victor after he tells the story of his father finding him. Victor then ask if that was the reason they are together now and Thomas Builds-the-Fire confirms this. Thomas is almost Victor’s fathers gift from beyond and a show of affection for his son that was never specified. Thomas symbolize, on this trip, a fatherly hand to help him along the way both mentally and…

    • 843 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Receiving Help Sherman Alexie's poem, "This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona," uses flashbacks, sensory description, dialogue, and other literary tools to illustrate the importance of reunion. In the story, Alexie demonstrates how the news of the death of Victor's father affected him. He says that even though he has not seen his father in years, “there was still a genetic pain, which was as real and immediate as a broken bone,” (Alexie 11). Victor’s father had died and now Victor has to travel to Phoenix, Arizona to recover his father's ashes, money, and his old pickup truck. Victor is joined by his childhood friend " Thomas Builds-the-fire", who finances the trip to Phoenix since Victor did not have the funds.…

    • 943 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Victor, an average young male, in his twenties it may seem, is living out on a reservation at the time. With little friends to talk to, the only person it seems he can talk to is an old friend of his, Thomas Builds-the-Fire. As a young adult, Victor’s father has just passed away, and forms a passive mood to show for why he becomes troubled as he is denied the money he needs to go to Phoenix, Arizona until he reconnects with an old friend, Thomas Builds-the-Fire, but the further along he goes, he begins to have a more healthy acceptance. Victor comes into this story as the first character, and most troubled already it seems, with the passing of his father. Victor Starts out with his passive mood on the bottom of page one, his thoughts reveal…

    • 702 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Junior has always dreamed of wanting to get of the reservation. In chapter one he tells the reader that he wants to be a famous artist one day because he feels it might be his “only real chance to escape the reservation. (Page 6)” With encouragement from Mr.P, Junior takes a huge leap towards escaping the reservation when he decides to attend school in the town of Reardan, “the rich, white farm town that sits … exactly twenty-two miles away from the rez. (Page 45)” When Junior leaves to attend Reardan he sees it as an opportunity for bettering himself, but his tribe sees it as a betrayal. This causes Junior to have an identity crisis as he tries to figure out where he fits in, even when he doesn’t fit in perfectly in either location.…

    • 1613 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Both Victor and Thomas grew up together in the state of Arizona. Thomas used Victor’s father as a guide to help Victor in his time of need. “Take care of each other is what my dreams were saying. Take care of each other” (Alexie 287). It was when puberty struck them that both began to have distinct personalities as well as identities.…

    • 1113 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    His first encounter with his intoxicated father was described as he was stumbling around the house, slamming doors, and thumping into things. As the author uses these action words to describes the noises that was heard that night, it is also allowing the audience to experience the fear a young boy, such as the author, was experiencing himself. As the author’s father encounters a near death experience, forcing him to become sober for the next fifteen years, he describes it as an almost blissful time. The father became more content, playful, and a stronger sense of a father in comparison to himself while drunk. As the author and his siblings grow older, the parents decide to move away to start a new, sober life.…

    • 1509 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Sherman Alexie’s “This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona” not only tells the story of two men forming a bond and taking care of each other, but it also tells a story of life for Native Americans. Alexie’s life experiences, including living with an alcoholic father, living in poverty, and leaving the reservation for an education are all reflected in this short story, revealing that life for a Native American is not easy or satisfying. Alexie pours his own life experiences into most of his writing and this is true for “This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona,” as well. By using his own life as inspiration for his writing, Alexie allows for others to know the hardships experienced by Native Americans, primarily demonstrating his belief…

    • 1265 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    When Theodore Roethke wrote “My Papa’s Waltz” there was much more to this poem than what is read on the surface. At first glance this poem seems to be about a young boy who is abused by his alcoholic Father. After breaking this poem into different pieces it is only then that the reader is able to see how Roethke applied the Psychology Criticism to explain that the waltz is not a dance, but it is symbolic of the young boy’s relationship with his Father. The mental process of perception from this small boy dominates as a central theme. The young boy is critical of his Father.…

    • 760 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Sherman Alexie, author of “This Is What It Means To Say Phoenix, Arizona,” incorporates his experiences and hardships in life through the characters in the story. Alexie portrays himself through Victor, a young boy who must recover the ashes of his cold and distant father in Arizona. Alexie and Victor share the strength in overcoming the opprobrious conditions in the reservation. Victor sought to reclaim what he had lost, his father and himself. Victor’s father appeared depressed and, while suffering with heart disease, leaves the reservation to live in Arizona.…

    • 338 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Improved Essays