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This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona

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

This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona

Victor Joseph is the main character in "This is What it Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona" by Native American author Sherman Alexie. The story revolves around a pivotal rite of passage, the death of a...

Latest answer posted October 13, 2012, 5:00 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona

The title is significant because, like the mythological creature the city is named for, Victor experiences rebirth through his journey to deal with his father's ashes. A phoenix bursts into flame...

Latest answer posted August 28, 2019, 4:36 pm (UTC)

3 educator answers

This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona

Sherman Alexie's story "This is What it Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona" centers around the idea of escaping the reservation. Victor, the primary character in the story, is forced to confront this...

Latest answer posted July 28, 2016, 6:30 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona

As the story opens, Victor finds himself in need of money to travel from Spokane to Arizona in order to manage a few tasks following the death of his father. He can't afford to fly there and...

Latest answer posted January 26, 2021, 7:23 pm (UTC)

4 educator answers

This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona

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...

Latest answer posted March 15, 2020, 8:37 pm (UTC)

3 educator answers

This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona

Here are some quotes from "This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona" by Sherman Alexie. Victor hadn't seen his father in a few years, only talked to him on the telephone once or twice, but...

Latest answer posted July 28, 2019, 11:16 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona

Sherman Alexie employs numerous literary elements in the story. These include dialogue; several types of comparisons, such as metonym, simile, and metaphor; and hyperbole. In presenting Victor’s...

Latest answer posted September 16, 2019, 10:35 pm (UTC)

3 educator answers

This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona

One of the most readily apparent conflicts in Sherman Alexie's "This is What it Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona" is the internal conflict happening inside Victor. Though Victor has not at all had a...

Latest answer posted February 2, 2019, 12:19 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona

Without question, there are character differences between Victor and Thomas-Builds-the-Fire. Thomas maintains more of his Indian identity than Victor does. Thomas-Builds-the-Fire lives on the...

Latest answer posted October 23, 2017, 11:53 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona

The main symbol in the story is the phoenix. Vincent must go to the city of Phoenix to pick up his father's cremated remains, but more importantly, the story's title refers to the mythological bird...

Latest answer posted January 28, 2021, 11:28 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona

Thomas Builds-the-Fire is Victor's guide and catalyst in this story. Victor has lost touch with his father and his Native American roots and heritage. Thomas is the one who helps him reconnect and,...

Latest answer posted August 4, 2018, 2:18 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona

In the humorous but poignant short story "This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona" by Sherman Alexie, a Native American named Victor hears that his father has died in Phoenix, Arizona. Victor...

Latest answer posted February 19, 2020, 3:34 am (UTC)

2 educator answers

This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona

Victor desperately needs some money so that he can travel to Phoenix, Arizona, to collect his father’s remains. He does not have any money to travel to Phoenix because he has just lost his job at...

Latest answer posted February 8, 2018, 2:35 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona

(Because this is a question about plot, I'm going to do a lot of summary and no quotes.) Sherman Alexie's "This is What it Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona" is told in real narrative time and...

Latest answer posted July 31, 2016, 7:54 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona

The title refers to the deeper meaning beneath what starts out for Victor as a practical chore of going to the literal Phoenix, Arizona to collect his dead father's remains and belongings. While on...

Latest answer posted January 27, 2021, 12:38 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona

The importance of friendship is a core component of this short story. Victor finds a way to come to terms with the broken relationship he had with his recently deceased father. Reuniting with his...

Latest answer posted October 12, 2019, 3:23 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona

The first significant thing is that they reclaim Victor’s father’s ashes from Phoenix, Arizona. In Egyptian mythology, the phoenix rises from the ashes. Victor and Thomas do not completely reclaim...

Latest answer posted February 8, 2011, 1:50 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona

Victor is the "cool" Indian. He understands how to be stoic and has a great capacity to feel sorry for himself because he is Indian and the white people have stolen the Indians' land. Thomas loves...

Latest answer posted December 4, 2010, 8:53 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona

Victor seems to have a conflict of identity since he is uncertain of where he belongs. The friend that Victor had as a youth, significantly, had a real Indian name—Thomas Builds-the-Fire—that...

Latest answer posted October 6, 2017, 1:09 am (UTC)

2 educator answers

This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona

The story of "This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona" is set on the reservation in Washington state near Spokane, Washington. Flashbacks are also on the reservation. One of Thomas...

Latest answer posted July 26, 2010, 1:32 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona

In his short story "This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona," Sherman Alexie uses irony to explore the conditions and culture of modern American Indian life. His work is an exploration of the...

Latest answer posted July 28, 2019, 3:52 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona

"This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona," is a story about a journey, about personal transformation, and about rebirth. The question of how both Victor and Thomas relate to the death of...

Latest answer posted October 24, 2019, 5:05 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona

“This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona” by Sherman Alexie follows the story of two young Indian men who live on a reservation in Washington state. The main character, Victor, has just lost...

Latest answer posted January 27, 2013, 5:22 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona

Hello! You asked why it is symbolically important that Victor and Thomas are no longer friends: 1) Through Victor and Thomas' splintered past and present bonhomie (good-natured friendliness),...

Latest answer posted July 6, 2015, 4:40 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona

The story of the film is significantly different than the short story. One of the major differences is that Thomas's parents were killed in a house fire, whereas in the story Thomas tells us...

Latest answer posted March 23, 2019, 3:34 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona

In addition to isolation from each other, another theme of this story is the marginalization of Native Americans by white American society and the United States government. When Thomas and Victor...

Latest answer posted October 11, 2019, 3:05 pm (UTC)

3 educator answers

This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona

Victor wants to avoid Thomas because he tells the same stories over and over again. Thomas has a more spiritual Native American sensibility about him whereas Victor struggles between this heritage...

Latest answer posted November 7, 2015, 11:42 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona

When Victor's father passes away, Victor finds himself in a quandary. He has just lost his job at the Bureau of Indian Affairs and doesn't have enough money to make the trip to Phoenix, Arizona....

Latest answer posted August 26, 2015, 7:46 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona

It is clear that both of the children in these texts, Victor and the boy in "My Papa's Waltz," have a rather complicated relationship with their father. This is shown by Victor's awkward feelings...

Latest answer posted October 16, 2013, 5:57 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona

During a chance meeting years ago, Victor's father treated Thomas with great kindness. In exchange for keeping Thomas's presence at Spokane Falls a secret, Victor's father asked Thomas to look out...

Latest answer posted January 27, 2021, 7:04 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona

At the beginning of "This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona," Victor and Thomas already have a long history together, having known each other since early childhood. When Thomas says that he...

Latest answer posted January 27, 2021, 12:06 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona

In "This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona," Victor and Thomas Builds-the Fire had stopped being friends a long time ago. The setting changes introduce new situations for Thomas and Victor...

Latest answer posted July 25, 2010, 10:03 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona

Sherman Alexie's short story "This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona" contains two major characters: Victor and Thomas Builds-the-Fire, both of whom are psychologically explored throughout...

Latest answer posted January 26, 2021, 12:32 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona

It seems that Alexie is suggesting that Victor and others on the reservation do not see the usefulness of Thomas Builds-the-Fire and his stories. He is a repetitious relic of the past in a modern...

Latest answer posted July 10, 2018, 9:26 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona

Thomas is somewhat of a social pariah because he freely retains much of the tribal practices, one of which is his storytelling. Thomas Builds-the-Fire walked through the corridors of the tribal...

Latest answer posted April 11, 2014, 7:04 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona

When they were boys, Thomas and Victor went to see the fireworks for the Fourth of July. Thomas remarks that it is odd for them, being Indians (Native Americans), to celebrate America's...

Latest answer posted October 23, 2013, 6:32 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona

At the beginning of Sherman Alexie's story "This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona," we meet Victor, a Native American man who is down on his luck. He has just lost his job. He has no money,...

Latest answer posted September 11, 2020, 5:53 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona

Thomas thinks that one of Victor's characteristics is that he thinks too much. Indeed, Thomas says to Victor, "You always used to tell me I think too much...Now it sounds like you do." Victor is...

Latest answer posted November 9, 2019, 5:13 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona

The ending of this powerful story about cultural identity and loss is where the phrase "fair trade" is mentioned, and it is clear that this fair trade is what applies to the exchange that has taken...

Latest answer posted February 28, 2013, 6:25 am (UTC)

2 educator answers

This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona

In "This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona," Thomas Builds-the-Fire is known for his visions. For his part, Thomas is convinced that each person on earth is given a gift. When confronted by...

Latest answer posted January 26, 2021, 6:41 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona

Let me count the purposes for you! 1. During this scenario, the biggest purpose is to show that feeling screwed by the government crosses all cross-sections of people. This Olympic gymnast was not...

Latest answer posted February 22, 2010, 4:17 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona

"This is What it Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona" is one of the most significant stories in Sherman Alexie's collection The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven. In this narrative, Victor...

Latest answer posted February 7, 2010, 12:16 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona

Fire appears indirectly in this story, serving as a symbol of enlightenment and rebirth for Victor. Victor's childhood friend has been named after this force: Thomas Builds-the-Fire. Although the...

Latest answer posted January 27, 2021, 12:39 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona

The short story "This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona" by Sherman Alexie tells of a young Native American man named Victor who lives on a reservation near Spokane, Washington. He hears...

Latest answer posted August 30, 2020, 7:29 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona

Sherman Alexie's short story "This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona" is part of a collection of connected short stories about members of the Coeur d'Laine Indians. It specifically deals...

Latest answer posted February 14, 2011, 7:31 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona

One important theme of this story by Sherman Alexie is the role of friendship in helping people through difficult times. Victor and Thomas had been friends as children, but after they fought, they...

Latest answer posted October 21, 2019, 12:18 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona

The story of "This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona" says that when Victor and Thomas Builds-the-Fire were seven-years-old, Thomas told the story about Victor's father watching TV all night...

Latest answer posted August 3, 2010, 7:41 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

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, Victor's father has just died of a heart attack in a trailer in Arizona, and Victor and Thomas Builds-the-Fire...

Latest answer posted January 27, 2021, 3:31 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona

The two main characters, Victor and Thomas Builds-the-Fire, in "This is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona" by Sherman Alexie, illustrate the plight of the present day Indian. Victor views the...

Latest answer posted December 20, 2018, 3:12 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona

There are several details which indicate that Victor and Thomas no longer share the close friendship from their childhood days. When the story opens, Victor is preparing to take a trip to collect...

Latest answer posted January 27, 2021, 11:55 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

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