This is What it Means to be Natives In the short story “This is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona” by Sherman Alexie Native Americans are accurately depicted due to the author’s Native American heritage and his upbringing in the Spokane-Coeur d’Alene Tribe. In the story, the character Victor needed help to retrieve his father’s remains, and his childhood acquaintance Thomas acting out of tradition says that he will lend him money (Alexie 245). The role of a Native American should be played or depicted by a Native American author or director, and that non-Natives should have extensive knowledge of the Native American culture before attempting to portray them. Native Americans have been negatively portrayed in Hollywood and Western literature. …show more content…
As Harrison concludes, “Then again, maybe the Western has one life left, one that involves the Indians finally telling their own story” (Harrison 217). These stories came to life with the passion of one who knows what they are talking about, namely educated individuals who happen to be tribal members of their respective nations. Native Americans face similar struggles just like the rest of Americans, and in the short story, “This is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona”, Victor laments, “Whatever happened to the tribal ties, the sense of community? The only real thing he shared was a bottle and broken dreams” (Alexie 253). The plight of Native American authors and directors to get the truth out about what really goes on inside of reservations is encouraging and also gives myself and many Native Americans great hope that many people will be more informed. Also that this would cause a great season of healing to come upon the people of the United States would continue to
Sherman Alexie, author of “This is what it means to say Phoenix, Arizona” has shared her fruitful ideas about the true meaning of friendship. Victor, the core person of the story faced many issues. He is a young individual, having an Indian origin. He is aware of his Dad who died in Phoenix. Victor planned for Phoenix, for closing his Dad’s account and picking up his ashes, but due to being jobless, he felt short of finances to travel to Phoenix. Thomas is another important character of the story. Both Victor and Thomas were a good companions in their childhood. Thomas was famous for telling tales, but since he kept on repeating the same tales, people were not
For many decades, the myth and stereotypes surrounding native American Culture has long been only viewed through, Hollywood portrayals, religious, educational studies. It has long remained controversial topic and has raised just as many questions concerning Indians and the cultural life of Native Americans as it has answered. Sherman Alexie’s story serves to both reinforce those stereotypes and shatter them all together. In “This is What it Means to say Phoenix, Arizona” Sherman Alexie uses the third person limited omniscient narrative to offer a semi- autobiographical tale through the characters Victor Joseph and Thomas-Builds-the-Fire, he seamlessly fuses the art of Native
Gloria Bird realizes that for generations Native Americans have had drinking problems, and she also realizes that it is difficult for “native writers to accurately represent our communities without exploiting them.”(G. Bird) However, Bird criticizes Alexie of embellishing or exaggerating the Native Americans’ despair. Alexie cannot ignore the alcohol situation when describing Native American culture, but Alexie does not need to make alcoholism a common trait amongst almost every ‘Indian’ on the reservation and other reservations.
Arnold overcame poverty, death, disease, racism, and educational barriers that many Native Americans do not get to defy. When Arnold through that geometry book in Mr. P’s nose, the spark of desperation to leave the reservation and become more than just another poor, drunk Native American was brought to attention. It is difficult for fellow Native Americans to find that spark and the outlet like Arnold did in this novel. The vicious cycle that Native Americans have found themselves in is a problem that is almost insurmountable. When a person need to relinquish their culture and traditional values to become more than a statistic. The Native Americans that have found themselves stuck on the reservations need the attention and opportunity that Arnold and his parents looked for when they were growing up. When that opportunity arises they should not be scolded for doing well, and should strive to achieve greater heights like Arnold and Sherman Alexie both
In the memoir “This Is What It Means To Say Phoenix Arizona” by Sherman Alexie uses a “descriptive” tone because it is describing how nobody wanted to be seen near or with Thomas.
The character Thomas from “This Is What It Means To Say Phoenix, Arizona,” uses his stories, his money, knowledge, and understanding as he tries to help his friend, Victor, with his father’s death. Thomas is a indian who enjoys telling his stories to everyone. When he hears that his Victor’s father died, he goes to the trading post, where his Victor was heading.The birds, the wind, the sunlight told Thomas that his Victor’s father had died, and he happened to see his Victor’s mom mourning at the trading post.Throughout the rest of the story, Thomas pursue to help Victor get to Phoenix to get his father’s ashes, and his father’s valuable possessions. However, Thomas's stories and kindness allows him to help Victor and Victor’s situation with
In “This Is What It Means To Say Phoenix, Arizona”, Victor finds out that his father has died in Phoenix, Arizona, he then sets out for Phoenix in order to claim his father’s bank account. Victor is an indiain who lives on a reservation, who feels as though his family has no use for him, and after learning that his dad has died, he decides to go to where his dad died to claim his bank account. Although Victor went down to Phoenix for personal gain, he’s an ambitious man, as he never gave up on looking for a way to Phoenix.
I decided to focus on “This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona.” By Sherman Alexie. Sherman started the story with the main character, Victor, already facing setbacks. The story interested me due to having a tense situation from the beginning. I believe, the transition from beginning, to end started with the sentence, “I’ve got some money saved,” Thomas said. “It’s enough to get us down there, but you have to get us back.” (247). I chose this point as it gave Victor, hope. This opened the opportunity for him to retrieve his father.
Sherman Alexie is an American novelist, poet and filmmaker. Much of Alexie’s writing alludes to his experiences as an Indigenous American. One of Alexie’s most famous piece of writing is his short story “This is What it Means To Say Phoenix, Arizona” from his 1993 book The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, which interconnects short stories with recurring characters. The previously listed story, “This is What it Means To Say Phoenix”, follows the journey of Victor Joseph and Thomas Builds-the-Fire as they travel to Phoenix, Arizona to collect Victors recently deceased father’s ashes. The two characters are polar of each other, which causes a conflict between the two. Victor is a more modern Indigenous American whilst Thomas is more
The character Thomas in the story ‘This is what it means to say Phoenix,Arizona’ is shown as a wise,helpful,forgiving and over all a extraordinary person.In this story there's two main characters,their is Victor who is the primary character and he is the one the whole story is based on,then there's Thomas who is a old friend of Victor’s,he helps victor throughout the way of his journey to Phoenix and back.Victor's dad passed away that's why they get into this adventure because he needs help and Thomas helps by loaning him money and the company to go to the funeral.Thomas is the character that mostly catches readers attention because of his storytelling and his extraordinary way of thinking.In other words Thomas Buildsthe-Fire is portrayed as
In “This Is What It Means To Say Phoenix, Arizona,” Alexie creates a story that captures the common stereotypes of Native Americans. For instance, in the story the narrator states, “Who does have money on a reservation, except the cigarette and fireworks salespeople?” (Alexie). This quotation shows that the narrator addresses the idea that all Native Americans must own businesses that sell fireworks and/ or cigarettes in order to be successful. In this example, Victor is shown to not identify with the Native Americans because he does not pursue the same job opportunities as many Native Americans do. Victor's character is used as a contrast to the stereotypes that , there he represents reality. Another instance in which the author incorporates a stereotype about Native Americans is when Thomas-Builds-the-Fire first makes conversation with Victor. Thomas-Builds-the-Fire informs Victor about the news of Victor's ...
Leslie Marmon Silko, a Laguna Pueblo writer, uses Storyteller as a way to express and bridge the gap between oral tradition and writing. Utilizing memories and narratives, she recalls traditional Laguna stories that emphasize the unique way Native Americans have experienced the world, while connecting the past and present. Through these stories, we see the Native American struggle to maintain identity and independence as white culture infiltrates society and attempts to destroy tribal identity. It becomes clear that the Laguna people reject the danger of uniformity and thus use stories to maintain legacy, seek out identity, and as a powerful weapon against assimilation and colonialism.
Sherman Alexie, the author of “This is what it means to say Phoenix, Arizona” uses satire, sarcasm, and dry humor to portray his message. The message that no matter what goes on in life—good or bad—the present, the future, the visions, and the flashbacks tend to move right along in the same direction as the present. Sherman Alexie accomplishes the goal of moving forward in life by using Thomas—a character in the short story who is very lively and funny. The Author purposely used a character like Thomas because he serves as a guide to let others know to move right along and not stay in the now with the help of his stories.
In the film The Exiles, written and directed by Kent Mackenzie, a group of Native American adults are shown to be attempting to live in Los Angeles. The theme of these people not belonging in Los Angeles or their homes is interweaved throughout the film as most of the action is driven by a sense of the characters seeming lost. Even though the film is shown through the lens of Kent Mackenzie, a White man, there are still some progressive aspects. The film holds the potential to provide meaningful insight into the plight of Native Americans, not only historically, but today as well.