In Sherman Alexie's short story "This is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona" the author presents two characters Victor and Thomas builds the fire, are similar yet different in their families, personalities/relationships, and the trip to Phoenix with each other.
One thing Victor and Thomas have in common is both have or had a family. Victor the main character; has lost his job, has no money and learns that his father has died. He appears to be isolated from his extended family, "... his family didn't have any use at all for him" (909). His mother is "...just as poor as he was..." (909) Victor is a man who has no one to rely on. There are people there to help however; he calls the tribal council and requests aid to retrieve his father's effects. The council assist's Victor from a sense of community. The council is having a '...difficult time financially" (910) and doesn't have much, but they give him one hundred dollars and remark to him "we're sure there is someone..." (910) someone for him to rely on for further assistance. Thomas's family died in a fire on the fourth of July at their home, when he was also a teenager. Victor and Thomas were inseparable as children, yet they both loved their parents. Victor's father helped Thomas's when he was a teenager, and in return Thomas promised to watch out Victor.