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Means TO STATE Phoenix Arizona English Literature Essay

Sherman Alexie was born in 1966 in an Indian reservation near Seattle, Washington. His descent his half Spokane 50 percent Coeur dAlene. He started by writing poetry before writing prose. His writings describe the life of Indians today as it is, realistically, and depict the unvarnished fact. Despair, poverty and alcoholism are recurrent styles. His protagonists often have difficulty in their lives and with themselves, and what this means to be an Indian nowadays. Not surprisingly, his works contain humor and irony.

The short story 'This is what it means to say Phoenix, Arizona' is part of your book called The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, which originally comprised twenty-two interconnected brief stories (the e book was reissued in 2005 with two new brief testimonies). This booklet was Alexie's first prose work, published in 1993.

In 'This is exactly what it means to state Phoenix, Az', we follow the trip of two young Indians Victor, whose father has just died, and Thomas Builds-the-Fire. They was raised collectively in the Spokane Indian Booking, in the express of Washington. When Victor's estranged dad dies, he chooses to visit Phoenix to remember his father's things. Since he hasn't enough money, Thomas-Builds-the-Fire helps him to pay for the trip. The two teenagers undertake a 2000 kilometers voyage to Phoenix, Arizona. Thomas Builds-the-Fire is a story-teller but no one listens to him any more, and he is becoming an outcast. For Victor and probably for the other customers of the tribe, it is hard to accept Thomas' stories and for that reason an integral part of Native aAmerican record, as if they didn't have confidence in their own culture any longer.

Sherman Alexie wishes to show how the Indian culture has been acculturated and kind of destroyed by Western european colonisation. He also wants to show exactly what the effects of the acculturation on Indians today, who are no more Indians but do not belong to the white community either. They are ripped of their culture, traditions and often leave their booking or sink into alcoholism. Alexie himself used to drink but he give up following the success of his work in 1990 and has remained sober ever since. He portrays a non-exotic, desillusioned Indian community, never as we, Eastern readers, picture Indians. The main questions asked by Sherman Alexie in his works are what does it mean to live as an Indian in this time around and what does it imply to go on an Indian booking.

In Indian culture, the names are very important, they are often linked with the totem dog of the individual. In order to discover it, one must take a "vision quest". Within the short account, we observe that if Thomas has found his Indian name, the narrator has not. This can suggest that you are not fully oneself if you have not found out one's name. Sherman Alexie comes with an Indian name but he will keep it a key. We can reckon that the narrator's Indian name would have something to do with the salmon. This fish is definitely very important in Indian culture. As Alexie explained : "Salmon, it's about the salmon".

Strangely enough, the narrator's father has been cremated although the custom for Indians is usually to be buried with almost all their possessions. We are able to ask ourselves what is the significance of this particularity. On one hand it probably denotes the acculturation, Indians have a tendency to become westerners and forego little by little their practices, but on the other side, it could be a strong mark, that of rebirth, as a phoenix rises from its own ashes. We can not help but observe that the name of Thomas has to do with fire.

The work of Sherman Alexie, although dark concerning the issues of Indians nowadays, is also filled with laughter and irony. At the start, when Victor asks Thomas how he found out about his father's passing, he right answers that he has "heard it on the wind flow" and then confesses that he just observed his mom crying. This destroys our passionate image of Indians.

In the booking, Thomas is the only person who tries to help make the traditions go on but it isn't easy and he is cast away. The mystical side of his culture is not accepted by Victor and the other members of the tribe. This shows the way the Native American have been acculturated and don't embrace their values.

In Thomas's eye-sight, people are here to take care of one another. But as the Indians became more and more acculturated, they lost the sense of tribe and became more individualists. They have got lost control of the symbols that signify them.

The journey comes with an appeasing influence on Victor, he comes to peacefulness with himself and gets closure in his romance with his dad. It is a kind of a rebirth. To be a phoenix, Victor rises from his father's ashes.

were friends before, victor transformed his backside on him

journey occasion to review earlier years and choices

two natives americans, around twenty years old,

news father's loss of life, journey to retrieve his remains, and ashes

one history with flashbacks inside ' provide explanations for the people' actions and know how they could feel and just why they feel that way. Reviews or visions

Victor possessed a bad marriage with his father and with Thomas

thomas had promised to look after victor to his father

V apologizes to T

recreate bonds on the highway, but must end as they get back to the reservation, might go on as before

Thomas develops the fireplace ' has started the fireplace under victor

SA has cut his scalp in mourning of his overdue father

have a means of surviving. But it's almost like Indians can certainly survive the big stuff. Mass murder, lack of vocabulary and land protection under the law. It is the small things that damage the most. The white waitress who wouldn't take an order, Tonto, the Washington Redskins.

We have to believe in the energy of creativeness because it's all we've and ours is stronger than theirs. Lawrence Thornton

Sources :

Sherman Alexie's website : www. fallsapart. com

Quirk, Sarah A. Dictionary of Literary Biography, Quantity 278: American Novelists Since World War II, Seventh Series. Detroit: The Gale Group, 2003.

Klinkenborg, Verlyn. "America at the Crossroads : Life on the Spokane Booking : RESERVATION

BLUES, By Sherman Alexie, LA Times, June 18. 1995

"In His Own Literary World, a Local Son Without Borders", Eric Konigsberg, THE BRAND NEW York Times, Oct 20, 2009.

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