single car driving across the desert

This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona

by Sherman Alexie

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What is the story "This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona" saying about friendship?

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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 childhood friend Thomas Builds-the-Fire is an important element in this healing process. Victor comes to realize that his memories of his childhood and adolescence were imperfectly formed. His own guilt over breaking their friendship had shaped his subsequent attitude toward Thomas. Victor must learn to listen to the meaning behind Thomas’s stories, rather than dismissing the confusing exterior aspect. Once he admits that he is in no position to adopt a superior attitude, his self-esteem begins to improve. It is important for Victor to acknowledge that being dependent on another person is a normal part of adult life, not an admission of weakness.

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