Literary Analysis- Sherman Alexie

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Sherman Alexie’s film, Smoke Signals is a “very basic story, a road trip/buddy movie about a lost father” (Alexie, This is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona 873). His short story, This is what is means to say Phoenix Arizona, mainly focuses on the relationship of two native men, Victor and Thomas, who grew up together on a reservation but have been estranged from each other since they were teenagers. Both share the theme of friendship, reconciliation and self-realization. Alexie tried to convey that the only way to understand life is to comprehend past and present experiences. Alexie mainly uses stereotypes and flashback to develop the themes. It is seen from both the film and the short story that one of the central themes is friendship. Thomas and Victor are childhood friends who have drifted apart because of their different social circles. Victor was one of the cool kids while Thomas was considered a nerd. However their paths are forced to cross when Victor’s father passed away, and he desperately needed money to travel to phoenix to collect his ashes and belongings. As a last resort, Victor accepts Thomas’s offer to fund part of the trip in exchange for him tagging along. The two set out on their road trip and end up bonding on the way. Despite the fact that they bonded during the trip and now have a better understanding of each other, they still did not end up being friends. “Victor knew that Thomas would remain the crazy story teller who talked to dogs and cats, who listened to the wind and pine trees. Victor knew that he could not really be friends with Thomas, even after all that happened. It was cruel, but it was real.” (Alexie, This is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona 882) Is an excerpt from the short story that shows that despite everything that they went through; they were still not really friends. In the film, almost exactly the same thing
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