Comparison and Contrast Essay
Smoke Signals and “This is What It Means to Say Phoenix”
Smoke Signals is the story of two Native Americans, named Thomas and Victor, who grew up together and go off on an adventure to find who they really are. Thomas is young and lives with his grandmother, because his parents died in a fire when he was a baby; as we later find out, Victor’s father Arnold started the fire. Thomas lives by the morals and ethics of a traditional Native American, following the beliefs and telling stories.
Victor is a mean and cold person on the outside, but emotionally distressed about his father and his childhood on the inside. Victor is always being rude to Thomas and easily annoyed by his storytelling. Thomas tells stories of Arnold, Victor’s father, which Victor hates because of the history he has and how he hates his father, but throughout their journey feelings change and Thomas and Victor become closer than ever.
The story for both the movie and the short story start the same, Arnold had started a fire on a July 4th when Victor and Thomas were babies, and Thomas’s parents died but they threw Thomas out the window and Arnold caught him.
There are many differences between the movie and the short story revolving around the relationship of, and the characteristics of Victor and Thomas. The first big difference is that in the short story Thomas and Victor are cousins, but in the movie they are just friends that grew up together. While they’re growing up Victor and Thomas got into a fight, in the movie it was when Thomas asked Victor why his father left him and kept on coming up with reasons himself, so Victor got enraged and beat up Thomas. In the short story it’s when they were fifteen and Victor was drunk and Norma, a lady driving by, had to step in. A scene that wasn’t in the short story was the story of when Thomas was watching Victor play basketball with some of his friends. This is important because in the movie Arnold focuses on how he’s proud of Victor for being good at basketball. Another part not in the short story is when Thomas and Victor are young and standing around the campfire talking about stories.
Right before Victor leaves to get his father’s ashes Thomas says that he can help pay for the trip, but in return he wants to come along on the journey. The differences between the movie and the short story are that in the movie after Thomas proposes, Victor made his decision after talking to his mother about it and went to tell Thomas that he decided he could go with him. In the short story, Thomas offered to lend him money and Victor said that he couldn’t accept because they weren’t friends and that they hadn’t talked for along time. But Thomas says they didn’t have to be friends, Thomas just wanted Victor to take him along. In the movie Victor had gone over to Thomas’s grandmother’s house to tell Thomas that he would take him along opposed to in the short story Victor had just called Thomas.
After setting off on their trip to collect Arnold’s ashes and belongings, they meet a couple people and go through many experiences together along the way. There are quite a few differences between the travels of the movie and of the short story; a big difference is how they got there. In the short story they were taking a plane to Phoenix, Arizona and they met Cathy. They were happily talking with Cathy, and after the plane had landed they took a taxi. Comparing that to how little money they had for their journey, the movie seems to be more realistic. In the movie, first they had two friends pick them up and drive them to the bus station, and for whatever odd reason, these two female friends only drove in reverse. When they got onto the bus, they end up meeting a girl that was telling stories of the Olympics, which she was a back up for. Victor shows his true feelings and yells at her saying she wasn’t even a part of it for only being a replacement. After the bus, Thomas and Victor walk the rest of the way.
In the movie, when they arrive at Arnold’s old trailer they meet Suzie, she plays a big part because she makes Victor reminisce and truly think back if his father was really that bad; Victor realizes that his father was a good person in the end. In the short story they just get the ashes and drive Arnold’s pickup back. Another big part of the ending in the movie is when Victor gives Thomas half of Arnold’s ashes and this truly shows the change in the bond between the two, as if they are brothers now. In the short story Victor gives the ashes to his mother. At the end of the movie Victor shows that he cares about Thomas by promising to listen to one of his stories, which he had, in the beginning of the story, hated. Both the movie and the short story depict a similar adventure, but the movie captures much more emotions of Victor’s hatred turning into love and how he becomes a nicer person. The movie gives much more detail about the father, making him more of a main character. But in the end, Thomas and Victor become brothers through their journey.
Cite this Smoke Signals Movie&Paper Compare&Contrast
Smoke Signals Movie&Paper Compare&Contrast. (2016, Oct 04). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/smoke-signals-moviepaper-comparecontrast/