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

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What are some literary elements present in "This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona"?

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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 story about obtaining the necessary funds to get to Phoenix, Alexie uses the form of dialogue between Victor and the tribal council representative. A metonym is a word that is substituted for another equivalent concept or object. whole. In this telephone conversation, the narrator calls the representative “the council” although Victor is obviously speaking to one person not the entire tribal council.

The narrator also uses a simile to compare Thomas-Builds-a-Fire’s position as a storyteller without an audience. Using “like,” the narrator says that was “like being a dentist in a town where everybody has false teeth.”

A metaphor, a direct comparison between unlike things, is employed to describe the behavior of the white woman sitting next to them on the airplane. In the next sentence,...

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