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In “This Is What It Means To Say Phoenix, Arizona” by Sherman Alexie, two childhood best friends grew up with opposing perspective about the value of cultural heritage; Thomas Builds-the-Fire as a tribal member who tried to keep the culture and tradition that are no longer appreciated, and Victor, cutting off all connection to his heritage, trying to fit in with the modern society; how Victor’s flashbacks showed the significances of Thomas Builds-the-Fire toward him in the past, how it had changed throughout the time; and how Victor’s father’s incident gave Victor a chance to review his life and choices.
The two childhood best friends, who grew up in the same reservation found themselves totally opposite perspective about the value of cultural heritage. Victor represented the modern characteristics and lifestyle. Materialistically, when he learned that his dad had died; he just wanted to claim the savings account from his father, along with the pickup truck. Obviously, he wasn’t a family person, only talked to his dad a few times in years. His mother and the rest of his family weren’t of any use at all for him either when he needed the money. Even though just got fired, Victor’s going back and asking the tribal council for money with no shame, and later on taking Thomas’s savings to go to Arizona showed that he was a taker, a selfish person. His tone was bitter and cold, with a sense of angry, from the fact that his father had left him when he was fifteen. As much as a cynic, he was also an introvert. He didn’t even have any friends. Ironically, he worried about what others thought of him, feeling embarrassed when he talked to Thomas Builds-the-Fire, regardless of how close they were in the past. He didn’t want any connections with his heritage. He didn’t want to be a Native American. Much of Victor’s characteristics were of more from a modern person trying to survive the new world as an individual than a tribal member of the reservation.