The movie “Smoke Signals” was directed by Chris Eyre and the story line was written by Sherman Alexie, an extremely well known, and a personal favorite of mine, writer. Together and the help of many Native Americans, they created a movie following the journey of two teen Coeur D 'Alene Native American boys traveling to Arizona trying to retrieve Victor’s fathers remains. Thomas tags along with Victor while traveling from Idaho on bus and on foot. Throughout the bus ride, Victor teachers Thomas how to be a “real Indian.” Thomas, an avid storyteller, fills the trip with stories about Victors’ father. Thomas’s parents were killed in a fair when he was just a little kid, during the movie you are led to believe that no one knows the cause of the fire that killed both of his parents, but you do know that Arnold, Victor’s father, saved Thomas’ life. Throughout Victors childhood, you see the struggle he had with his father, and the problems that seemed to cause Arnold to get up and leave the reservation on day. Arnold drives away in his yellow pick-up truck and doesn’t come back. Personally, I believe the pick-up truck represents the problems in the family, but also problems in general. It represents running away from problems, where problems and bad memories happen, but ultimately in the end, it represents moving on, coming together and letting go of the past and no longer running away from problems. The progression of the meaning of the pick-up truck throughout the movie and throughout Victor’s life is an interesting cultural artifact to look at.
In the beginning of the movie and during Victor’s childhood, the pick-up truck represents tough times and bad memories. As a young kid, Victor looked up to ...
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...knew or didn’t know Arnold, they end up in a crash. The crash was caused by a drunk driver resulting in three cars crashing. In this moment, it is like Arnold is there with them and that was the way of letting go of the past. The truck that caused so many memories of Arnold being drunk or drinking, now in a crash caused by a drunk driver. Ironically, after the hospital visit, Victor finally lets go of his anger towards his dad and moves on while at the same time Suzy is moving on too. Victor goes to start the car, but like previously stated, the car doesn’t start, while at the same time Suzy is trying to start a lighter that won’t stay lit. After both of the characters trying again for a few moments, both things start working. The truck now symbolizes forgiveness, moving on, and no longer running away but returning home.
Throughout the movie Arnolds pick-up trucks m
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