This is What it Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona is a short story written by American writer and poet Sherman Alexie and lately the story was turned into a film directed also by Alexie and called Smoke Signals. Mostly, the main themes of Alexies stories and poetry are either the life of Native Americans or the theme of poverty. However in This is What it Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona the writer centered our attention not only on the theme of Native Americans, but also on the relationships between father and son; mutual understanding between characters with no relation to each other and in the same time with the same sort of father. If you're looking to dive deeper into the themes and symbolism of this story for an assignment, you might consider the option to buy a research paper from a reputable source to provide valuable insights and a thorough analysis of Alexie's work.


The main character of this story Victor turns out to be the one who is responsible to get his fathers ashes and other things he inherited from his parent, including his savings and an old truck. Having lived in Indian Reservation, Victor needs money to get to Phoenix, Arizona, where his father had lived, but no one in reservation is going to borrow it for him. Then Victor noticed his childhood friend Thomas-Builds-the-Fire, and even though they were friends from seven years old, they hadnt been in touch with each other for many years. Although Victor remembers how Thomas respected their tribes traditions and liked to criticize them philosophically in the same time. When Thomas noticed Victor too, he greeted him and expressed his condolences. One of the most Indian-like moments during this talk was Thomass answer on how he had known about Victors loss. Thomas told that he had heard the news from winds and birds that were crying. Everyone knows that Indians closely associate themselves with natures beings and how strong are their connections with nature. Exactly in this moment, in this part of Thomass speech, the writer shows us some typical for Indians traditional speech and associations. Moreover, even though Victor was not in good terms with dad as well as with Thomas, after all, this long way to Arizona became a sort of recovering of their relationships. Exactly then Thomas remembers that he had a vision when he was a teen about going on a long way to Spokane Falls and that Victors father was the one who fed and brought him back to reservation. This one exact moment carries the whole meaning of the story. It wasnt the coincidence that Thomas saw this vision, it had to show him and explain him that here, in Arizona, people are mean to understand each other and care about each other. Thomas knew how it feels to lose someone, even though he did not have an opportunity to know his mother, as she died giving Thomass life, he felt Victors loss. It was not the matter of childhood offense or money, it was the matter of caring about his friend, to be Victors companion and mate in this long sorrowful journey.

In his story This is What it Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona, Sherman Alexie is trying to show us the real meaning of relationship; and that very moment from the story, when Victor gave a part of fathers ashes to Thomas, showed us the real friendship between the two young men; he showed us how compassion, mutual understanding, mutual help can erase the memories of offense in the past between friends or relatives. From the first sight This is What it Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona seems like just a short nice story about friendship, but essentially it is much more problematic than one can think.