"Generalized Conflicts in This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona"

Literature often mirrors life. In "This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona," Sherman Alexie explores life by including generally recognized conflicts. Although typical, the conflicts that Victor encounters occur in more than one aspect of life at once and are all intertwined. Some are resolvable, but true to life, some are not.

The most apparent conflict in the story is the inter-personal conflict between Thomas Builds the Fire and Victor. As children, they got into a fistfight. As adults, though they would often see each other on the reservation but they would rarely speak to each other since Victor has learned to ignore Thomas. These types of disagreements between friends are commonplace.

All of the conflicts present in Victor are often seen in everyday life. " Later it is revealed that he was just drunk and angry. Although not every conflict has an immediate solution, Sherman Alexie does maintain a sense of hopefulness and the possibility of a new beginning. Due to Victor's internal frustration, he projects his anger onto Thomas.

Yet, the conflict between Thomas and Victor leads to a more subtle struggle - the conflict that Victor has within himself. Victor cannot even turn to the Tribal Council for adequate financial assistance to retrieve his father's remains.

Victor is indeed a man of many conflicts.

Victor's self-bitterness partially stems from the deeply embedded conflict that Native Americans face in European or "American" society. It is no anomaly in society for people to misplace their anger on someone else; especially someone perceived as weaker. In an attempt to relinquish any grudges, Victor agrees to hear just one more story. Thomas is comfortable with himself while Victor is not. Nevertheless, Victor does agree to ride with Thomas to Arizona and this is the first step to resolving the conflict. During the trip, Victor apologizes for the fight and...

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