The movie, “Smoke Signals” came from the book The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven by Sherman Alexie.
The most important meanings that I found in this film, was Thomas-build-the-fire were always asking about victor father, every time he saw victor he say “hey victor where your father”. I know Thomas considers victor father as a hero but as victor say Thomas didn’t know anything about victor father. A few times in the film, there are flashbacks to their childhood. One of those scenes shows Victor beating Thomas up because he was asking why his father had left. Victor said his father was alcoholism, domestic violence, and eventual abandonment the family which I do believe is true.
Thomas didn’t know the whole fact he just knew Arnold was a hero in his eyes, because he Arnold had saved him from the fire that he started. The filmmakers were trying to communicate, that everybody is different Thomas was feeling one way about victor father and victor felt another way about “Arnold” his father. Thomas considers him as a hero; victor looked at him like he was nothing. Near the end of the film, Thomas asks Victor, “Do you know why you Dad really left?” Victor replies, “Yeah. He didn’t mean to, Thomas.” The reason Arnold left was because he accidently started the fire that killed Thomas’ parents while he was drunk. What aspects of this film deal with situations unique to Indians, when victor father had left and never came back Indians don’t just don’t leave their family and ones a Indian leave they never come back. What aspects concern universal human themes, the same problem now days you only got the mother or maybe the father never really have both parents and that’s something we need to work on.
Thomas builds-the-fire told great stories but the same stories over and over to the same people, when they was young. Thomas had a lot of friends, all the people that’s avoiding him now was his friends until he start telling stories.
The reason others on the reservation avoid him and his stories, because he was keep telling the same stories and they were getting boring, they also felt like the stories he was telling was not true and he was madding them up. Nobody really wanted to listen to the same, long, not funny and boring stories every time they saw Thomas-build-the-fire so they just avoid him, not talking to him and not even looking his way.
I think in the book they say Thomas-build-the-fire father told stories also, so I think it’s a tradition that got pasted down from father to son. Thomas-build-the-fire says I tell stories to whoever stop and listen, until they get tired of hearing the stories but people did but he kept telling the stories.
Thomas got locked up for killing somebody, but I don’t think he went to jail for that, he went for telling his stories to the wrong person. Going to jail Thomas didn’t tell any more stories again or didn’t say a word for decades. Until his trail (he said I killed them) and went back to silence for the reminder of time, until he was on his way to Walla Walla penitentiary. When some guys wanted to hear some of his stories, so he closed his eyes as he did always, when he about tell a story then he begin telling the stories. As Thomas-bird-the-fire sat in jail he didn’t sleep so he just sat up, thinking about stories, cry if they are sad and smile when they are funny.
Some ADVANTAGES of leaving the Indian reservation as a Native American included. Reach their goals. They will have better opportunity for their family and also them. Going to school and find jobs, Sherman say, he wanted to take his future into his own hands. Native American had left the reservation to find their ways to support their families’ also Native American leave the reservation to seek a higher quality of life elsewhere. Also In the book victor wanted to be a doctor, but living in the reservation you will never get that opportunity, because the books they were using was the book his mother was using when she was in school. You will not end up like the others Indians, drinking and fighting every time they get together to have fun. You will make more friends or even fall in love. You will live your dreams out.
Some DISADVANTAGE of leaving the Indian reservation as a Native American included. When you leave and try coming back they will make it hard on you. Because they feel that you betrayed them. If you do come back they probably kill you. When you come back you are going to be even more poor than before, with nowhere to sleep and belay with something to eat so coming back was a bad idea and you leaving was a poor decision and you knew you was gone come back . You leaving you will never learn more about their tradition and then the tradition will not be passing down. Leaving you will lose a lot of family that love and care about you. When you are leaving the reservation, there will be also racism between the white and Indian so you gone feel like you don’t belong there anymore.