Smoke Signals Movie Analysis

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Harold Bush 0419418 Professor C. Ball English 49 10/2/2012 Proper Closure Depends On Understanding Ones Motives The film Smoke Signals was directed by Chris Eyre is based on the short story written by Sherman Alexie, “This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona”. Alexie is known for his stylistic ability as an author of poetry, short stories, and novels, in addition to co-producing films such as Smoke Signals. Similarities of the two works include the characters of Thomas Builds-the-Fire, and Victor Joseph and their strained relationship. Also similar is the death of Arnold and of a trip which occurs in both, moving from the Couer d’ Lene Reservation to Phoenix, Arizona and then back again. Other similarities of the film and story…show more content…
For example, in the short story the Indians view Thomas as being strange, such as telling he tells Victor, “I'm sorry to hear about your dad (Alexie 61).” When asked how he heard of it, he replied that the wind was talking of it, and the birds told him about it, and how the fact of it shined so bright in the sunlight, and oh yeah, your mom was just in here (61). Although in the film, two Indian girl acquaintances stop to pick up Thomas and Victor, agreeing to give them a ride to the reservation bus depot, if Thomas will in exchange humor them with one of his stories. Thomas tells a tale of Victor's dad Arnold, and his days as a hippie protestor, waging war with the National Guard. The two girls laugh excitedly awed as they express their amazement at the realness of the story and his incredibly talented storytelling skills. Another example of the short story shows Thomas as a skinny, crooked toothed, unkempt young man. In contrast the film shows Thomas and Victor during the trip to Phoenix on board a bus talking to a young lady gymnast. She candidly speaks with Thomas and then compliments him on what a nice suit he has on, in addition he is portrayed as being a healthy and appealingly looking young man. Finally a last example of the short story tells of Thomas leaping from the roof of the Indian Bureau School and flying just long enough for everyone else to see, and of the hatred and envy felt by other…show more content…
One example of flashback as employed in the short story is a seven year old Thomas telling Victor a story of his father, who at the time resides at home. Thomas tells him, “Your father's heart is weak, he's afraid of his own family, he's afraid of you, (Alexie 61).” Yet in the film, we see the development of Arnold's character when by accident, he comes upon Thomas while he is off on a secret quest looking for a vision from the forefathers. Arnold laughs at the telling and takes him to Denny's for breakfast and then home to the reservation though he extracts a promise from Thomas to look out for Victor and to help him when needed. A second example of flashback inAlexie’s short story is at the age of ten, Victor asks Thomas to tell him a story after the fireworks show. Thomas responds with a tale of two boys wanting to be Indian braves. Together they steal a car as the old ones would horses, driving it to town and leaving it in a police parking lot. On returning home, they are hailed as warriors counting coup in the old tradition (63).” However in the film Suzie speaks of a basketball game shared by Arnold, who is so proud of Victor, and how he beats out two Jesuit Priests who towers above him, and how he won the game. Reminiscing and fondly recalling the game Victor responds that he actually lost the game, still Arnold had told it in a way of honoring his son. A last example from the short story

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