Sherman Alexie's This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona

1568 Words 7 Pages
In Sherman Alexie’s “This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona” and “Dead Men’s Path”, the reader is given a glimpse into two different stories but share many similar characteristics of traditions. Tradition is the handing down of statements, beliefs, legends, customs, information and cultures within a group of people from generation to generation. However, these two stories will reveal that the protagonists in these stories, Michael from “Dead Men’s Path” and Victor from “This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona,” will ignore their own traditions that they face throughout the story. In other words, the protagonists are westernized and have forgotten their own culture, which reflects the theory of the melting pot. The ignorance …show more content…
It can involve a relationship with significant people in their lives”(Rothe). As a result, they avoid thoughts, feelings, conversations, people or places that reminds them of the trauma. For Victor’s case, he pushes his relationships away and all the activities he used to enjoy. Without knowing, he has put his traditions him behind by avoiding the thoughts and feelings that remind him of the trauma. As a result, he loses his directions and guidance in life. Even though Victor is struggling with his own non-traditional life, the author from the “Dead Men’s Path” is suggesting that the protagonist, Michael will also face negative consequences due to his westernized characteristics. Michael is the new head master of the old traditional school, Ndume. Michael’s dream is to improve and westernize the education at the new school before the supervisor visits and reviews the school. In fact, he and his wife want to erase the old tradition of teaching and introduce the new western teaching. In the beginning of the story, Michael has a conversation with his wife about improving the school. Out of nowhere, his wife “became skeptical about the new school; but it was only for a few minutes”(270). Before the wife’s skepticism, the couple seemed to be confident and positive. The wife’s abrupt uncertainty reveals that she doubts the choice of westernizing the school for no apparent reason. This abrupt uncertainty gives the readers a

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