This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona Questions and Answers
by Sherman Alexie

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How does Victor change in "This Is What It Means To Say Phoenix, Arizona"?

In the short story "This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona" by Sherman Alexie, the main change that Victor goes through is in a renewal of his relationship with Thomas Builds-the-Fire. He has been ignoring Thomas because people on the reservation think he is strange, but Victor learns that Thomas has real depth and is a true friend.

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In the short story "This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona," a Native American named Victor on a reservation in eastern Washington learns that his father has died in a trailer in Phoenix, Arizona. He has to go collect his father's ashes and his pickup truck, but he hasn't got money for the trip. The Tribal Council helps him with a little money, but it's not enough, and then his old friend Thomas Builds-the-Fire offers to help.

Thomas and Victor used to be close, but Thomas has gotten a reputation as an eccentric storyteller so everyone avoids him, including Victor. However, Thomas offers to pay for the trip provided Victor takes him along.

They fly down to Phoenix, retrieve the pickup, a small amount of money, and Victor's father's ashes, and drive back. When they return, as Victor drops him off Thomas says that he knows that Victor will treat him the same as before. It is obvious, though, that their relationship has gone to a deeper, more intimate level.

The most important change...

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