In paragraph 1, readers are told that Victor lives on a reservation. What details elsewhere in the story establish this setting? What associations does this setting have for you? Do you think the story could take place anywhere else? -The other details that establish this setting is when they say, “So Victor called the tribal council.” This association sets an understanding of how things work in a reservation. I do believe the story could have taken place in any other reservation.
In addition to various locations on the reservation, the story’s setting includes an airplane, a trailer in Phoenix, and a road through Nevada. What does each of these settings contribute to the story’s plot? -The various locations help the reader visualize what is going on perfectly. Through each of these places, things happen that make the story whole. It gets all of the story to come together.
Is the scene on the plane necessary? Intrusive? Distracting? Farfetched? -I do believe the scene on the plane is necessary since it gives a bit of insight on Thomas and Victors relationship, which is demonstrated throughout the story.
How would you characterize the story’s mood or atmosphere? How do Thomas’s stories help to create this mood? How do they help to establish his character? Do you think the story should have included more of Thomas’s stories? –
Why do you suppose Victor and Thomas cannot be friends when they get back to the reservation? Why are they able to be friends when they are traveling to Phoenix?
Do the flashbacks to the two men’s childhood add something vital to the story? What purpose does the flashback serve?
In Native American culture, the storyteller holds an important position, telling tales that transmit and preserve the tribe’s basic beliefs. Do you think Thomas’s stories serve such a function? Or, do you think that he is, as Victor characterizes him, simply “the crazt story-teller who talked to dogs and cars, who listened to the wind and pine trees”
What do you think the story’s title means?
At the end of the story, when Tomas returns home, he hears “a new story come to him in the silence” after he closes the door. What kind of story do you think comes to him at this point?
In the introduction to a collection of Native American literature, Clifford E. Trafzer, the collection’s editor, discusses the unique characteristics of Native American writers. Do you think “This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona” displays the characteristics Trafzer associates with Native American writers?