The movie Smoke Signals delves into multiple themes, many of which are shaped by conflicts within the story. In my view, a significant theme is the notion that everyone commits errors and warrants forgiveness, regardless of the extent to which they may have harmed others. Various conflicts throughout the narrative particularly highlight this theme. The initial conflict unfolds at the start of the tale when a house catches fire, leading to the rescue of two babies, Thomas and Victor, by Victor’s father. This primary conflict establishes the foundation for subsequent events.
When Victor is around twelve years old, his father leaves him. This creates a conflict that can be classified as either “man vs. man” or “man vs. self.” This event acts as the trigger for the most intense conflicts in the story. Consequently, Thomas repeatedly interrogates Victor about why his father left, leading to arguments between them. This conflict falls under the category of “man vs. man.” As both Victor and Thomas enter their teenage years, Victor’s mother receives a phone call informing her of Victor’s father’s death. This conflict can be seen as either “man vs. self” or “man vs. fate.” After receiving the call, Victor urgently needs to travel to where his father passed away but lacks the necessary funds for it. In this situation, Thomas offers to provide him with the money on one condition: that Victor goes along with him.
When they are on their way, they encounter a gymnast. As Thomas engages in conversation with her, Victor bluntly tells her to overcome her issues and accuses her of being dishonest. This angers Thomas, and the conflict highlights Victor’s true thoughts. Upon arrival, Victor discovers that his father unwillingly left his home for the sake of his family. Though this realization affects Victor deeply, he remains resentful of his father and experiences emotional anguish, desiring others to feel the same. While returning to the reservation, Victor and Thomas become involved in a car accident involving already crashed vehicles.
A girl is seriously injured and a drunken man is shouting. She is on the brink of death, but Victor experiences flashbacks and rises to the occasion. Victor runs a distance of twenty miles to reach the nearest hospital, but he loses consciousness while running. This conflict can be categorized as man versus man. When a construction worker comes to assist him, Victor sees him as his own father. Upon awakening, it seems as though Victor has transformed and matured. He has learned the power of forgiveness. I believe this story contains multiple themes, but the most significant one based on the conflicts presented is that everyone makes mistakes and deserves to be forgiven.