single car driving across the desert

This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona

by Sherman Alexie
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What are the conflicts in the story "This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona"?

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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 close or even healthy relationship with his father, he still feels called to go to...

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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 close or even healthy relationship with his father, he still feels called to go to Phoenix to lay him to rest.

The greater conflict is the one of the history of interaction between the Native Americans and the US government, punctuated by alcoholism, poverty, and a general sense of hopelessness. Thomas Builds-the-Fire serves as a character who can simultaneously be in touch with the dying culture of the Native Americans and poke fun at it. When the Olympic athlete on the flight complains of the government boycotting the 1980 Olympics and hurting the team, Thomas replies that she "has a lot in common with the Indians."

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