The short story ‘This Is What It Means to Say

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The short story 'This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona,' has various locations or settings. These include different locations on the reservation, the airplane, the trailer in Phoenix, and the long road through Nevada. Do these settings have any influence on the character actions? To further understand how each of the different settings affects the story's plot we can look at each individual location in detail. As we read the book we are left to wonder if the characters are led to act as they did and whether or not crises or conflicts are also created because of the settings.

The first setting is at the reservation and this occurs after Victor loses his job and his luck takes the nastiest of turns when he is told that his father had died. When Victor, approaches the tribal council and informs them that he needs financial assistance and they offer him what they have available, we get the impression that he objects.

When one thinks about how the people on this particular reservation have no use for money, why would Victor who apparently has no form of savings feel like he deserves more than he was offered? His statement 'that's not even enough for a plane ticket' leaves us wondering if he is difficult to please or if he is just being unreasonable in this situation? When he is at the Trading Post and is waiting in line, Thomas approaches Victor and starts to talk to him, Victor is embarrassed because all the other Indians are staring at them. One is left to wonder if this because Thomas happens to be the community's 'outcast', or if Victor is afraid that the people will say he finally talked to a man (Thomas) he had ignored for...

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