This Is What It Means To Say Phoenix, Arizona Crit Essay

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Luan Nguyen
Professor Dodge
English 1302
6 February 2012

This Is What It Means To Say Phoenix, Arizona Critical Analysis
In Sherman Alexie’s “This Is What It Means To Say Phoenix, Arizona” the main character Victor just got fired from his job and also learned that his father had just passed away. He needed help and money to go to Phoenix to claim his father’s ashes and belongings.   This help came from the town’s outcast, Thomas Builds-The Fire. Victor and Thomas were best friends during their childhood but as they grew older, Victor turned his back on his best friend all because he was considered “weird” by everyone. The purpose of the journey was to gather his father’s remains instead turned into a journey reviewing his life and choices.
I think that in the beginning of Victor’s life, He was really close with his friend Thomas. There were countless stories of them growing up together as kids. They shared a lot great memories and laughs. As Victor was growing up, he was also steadily growing apart from his best friend Thomas due to social pressures. I think he didn’t want to be considered a weirdo because he affiliated with one. He was ashamed of being Thomas’s friend. So he beat up Thomas in front of everyone to just show that he wasn’t his friend. After that incident the two never spoke to each other up until the death of Victor’s father. He did later apologize during their trip but never gave a reason why.
I also think that is why he became distant with his Native American culture because he didn’t want to turn out like Thomas. He also seemed little more connected with his heritage as a Native American. When Thomas brought up how they have outdoor lights as they were walking home from a Fourth of July celebration as kids. He mentioned that “all he need is the stars.” He then quickly changes the subject. In a way it’s like he was denying his culture and who he really is.
Thomas is a unique character in the story.   He seems to be one with nature...

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