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

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sensei918 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Sherman Alexie's story "This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona" Victor must go to collect his father's remains. His father left when Victor was a child and he hasn't seen or heard from him in all that time.  He is filled with bitterness and anger, and that anger is often directed toward Thomas Builds-the-Fire, whose character is almost a polar opposite of Victor's, yet who also had a kind of relationship with Arnold, Victor's dad.  Through the process of his journey with Thomas, Victor gains awareness of what happened to his father, why he left, and why he has let his life go in the direction it has gone.  He learns forgiveness and acceptance, and, although he is still conflicted and has to deal with the same situations at home that he left when he went to Arizona, he has matured and his relationship with Thomas has also shifted to the point that he understands Thomas a little better along with a new understanding of himself.

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