single car driving across the desert

This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona

by Sherman Alexie
Start Free Trial

In "This is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona" by Alexie, why has Thomas evoked such dislike and hostility in Victor and others of the tribe?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

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 country. There still is a Tribal Council, and the reservation is a close-knit community, so we could assume that some continue with their native traditions. But even though oral histories, visions, and storytelling may be among those traditions, the people of this community (namely Victor) have grown to ignore Thomas. They ignore him because they don't see the point and because Thomas tends to repeat himself.

Nobody talked to Thomas anymore because he told the same damn stories over and over again. Victor was embarrassed, but thought Thomas might be able to help him. Victor felt a sudden need for tradition.

Victor reluctantly accepts Thomas's help because he needs the money. But it is Thomas's story about Victor's father and Thomas's companionship that really help Victor through the situation,...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 555 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team