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

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In "This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona," why is it that Victor and Thomas cannot be friends when they return to the reservation?

In "This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona," Victor and Thomas cannot be friends when they return to the reservation because Thomas is ostracized in their community and Victor does not wish to suffer rejection by befriending him. 

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Felicita Burton eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The friendship between Victor and Thomas had suffered a heavy blow years before when Thomas had prophecied that Victor’s father would leave forever. Not only did Victor violently attack Thomas at that time, but later, he also could not forgive him for being right. The trip they take together after Victor’s father dies is a temporary but necessary reconciliation. Thomas is demonstrating that he has forgiven Victor for attacking him, while Victor is acknowledging that Thomas is a true prophet. Their mutually experienced journey is like a mythical quest, which occurs in time and space that are outside of the normal time–space. After they return to the reservation, however, they also return to normality.

Sherman Alexie provides considerable ambiguity...

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