Sherman Alexie's What It Means To Say Phoenix, Arizona

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In the story “What it means to Say Phoenix, Arizona,” by Sherman Alexie, two young Native American men living on the Coeur D 'Alene Indian Reservation in Plummer, Idaho, named Victor Joseph and Thomas Builds-the-Fire travel to Arizona to retrieve Victor’s absent father’s ashes. Victor’s father, Arnold, saved Thomas from a house fire when he was a baby, where both of Thomas’s parents died. This tragic event caused Arnold’s alcoholism to spiral into an extreme state, making him an abusive drunk. He abandons Victor and his mother when Victor is a young boy, and leaves the reservation for good.

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