The stories of Smoke Signals and “This is What it Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona” are built around the same narrative with a few dissimilarities here and there. Smoke Signals is the film version based from the short story “This is What it Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona. ” Throughout the duration of the film there are recognizably a few alterations as compared with the short story; however, there are still a lot of similarities as well. An example of contrast would be the house fire scene in the beginning of the film, and comparisons being the overall journey of Victor and Thomas heading towards Phoenix.
Inclusively, the short story and the film have a correspondent plot: two Native Americans on a prodigious and agonizing journey to Phoenix, Arizona in search of the ashes of Victor’s deceased father. Both the film and short story portray familiar characterization, such as Victor’s and Thomas’ dreadful memories from their childhood which primarily affect their personalities.
Also, both show the uncooperative relationship between Victor and Thomas; for example, the rude behavior Victor displays towards Thomas for the remainder of the film and short story.
The theme of family and loyalty is portrayed in a complicated manner, however becomes ultimately evident in between the falling action and conclusion. Symbolically, the excruciating journey represents the loyalty it entails between the two Native Americans in order to embark in such a difficult voyage together, and in due course their friendship is found in the ruins of everything. The film didn’t necessarily alter the overall plot from the short story, but more so just accumulated on to the story while possessing an identical storyline.
One of the more significant differences presented was the house fire scene shown in the beginning of the film, which was a flashback from when Victor and Thomas were mere infants. Thomas’ parents were trapped within the burning home, however Thomas managed to survive once his mother tossed him out the window to be heroically caught by Victor’s father; nonetheless, Thomas’ parents would burn to death. The house fire never actually happened in the short story. Thomas’ father died while fighting inthe military and his mom died while giving birth to him. Conclusively, the film director of Smoke Signals, Chris Eyre, did a marvelous job maintaining a relatively analogous subplot compared with the short story while tacking on more suspense, drama and characterization into the mix. He also did a great job setting forth the original theme of family and loyalty which Sherman Alexie, Author of “This is what it means to Say Phoenix, Arizona”, desired to present in his narrative.
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