Miss Patricia Daskivich
April 10, 2013
In Raymond Carver’s short story “The Third Thing That Killed My Father Off,” the character Del Frazer took advantage of Dummy and used him for his own personal gain; in Sherman J. Alexie’s, short story “This is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona,” the character Thomas-Builds-the–Fire, unlike Del Frazer, was there for his friend Victor and helped him when no one else would. A friend is someone whom you know and have a special bond with. To form a bond with someone requires spending time with them, having conversations, and developing a growing understanding of each other. Del and Dummy never formed a special bond between them as compared to the bond shared by Thomas and Victor. To maintain a friendship requires communication, caring, and an equal effort to be made by both people involved or the relationship may end. A friend should not use you to get what they want. In addition, a friend should understand and comfort you when you need it.
Dummy from the story “The Third Thing That Killed My Father Off,” was a special needs man who was ridiculed by the whole town and married a woman who was unfaithful to him. In the beginning, Del didn’t make fun of him like the others and he defended the reputation of his wife, he pretended to be in his corner for selfish reasons. Dummy owned land and had ideal access to a river with plentiful fishing, which Del probably wanted for himself. Since Dummy thought of Del as his friend, it was the reason why he made sure he had ample fishing in the first place. One day Del and his son went fishing at Dummy’s place and Del said, “They needed to weed out the weak ones.” That statement hurt Dummy’s feelings. Dummy was considered a “weak one” in society’s eyes and felt that Del was saying the weak ones should be killed. As a result, when Del and his son tried to go fishing later, Dummy thwarted their efforts by holding the line and causing it to break. This angered Del who then took his son and left. Dummy came to realize that Del was using him for the fishing and didn’t actually care about him. Dummy put up fences around his property to ensure that no one could access his fish. Because of that, Del didn’t talk to Dummy for two years.
When winter arrived everything came crashing down for Dummy. The river over flowed which caused all the fish to leave and Dummy was laid off from work. Del did nothing to help Dummy he just sat back and watched it all happen. Del chose not to help Dummy in his time of need. Sadly, Dummy killed his wife and drowned himself in the river. Del was then plagued by guilt, but it was too late to be a good friend to Dummy. Del had plenty of chances to do right by Dummy, but he didn’t care until tragedy struck and he lost his opportunity to act. If Dummy hadn’t killed himself and his wife, it is not likely that Del would have never reached out to Dummy. Del was a selfish man and was only using Dummy for his fish.
In contrast, Victor from the story “This is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona,” was down on his luck and just lost his job and found out his father died of a heart attack in Phoenix, AZ. Victor’s dad had abandoned his family and he hadn’t seen him in many years. Victor was left trying to figure out how to get the money to go to Phoenix so he could clear out his father’s belongings and also claim his savings account. As fate would have it, Victor ran into his old friend Thomas-Builds-the-Fire, but he wasn’t excited to see him because he was embarrassed about the way their relationship had eneded. They had been best friends growing up, almost like brothers. They were the same age and shared a bike together and would take turns riding it, which is something only good friends would do. When they were twelve years old Victor got his foot stuck in a wasp’s nest and Thomas saved him without considering any danger to his own well-being. Thomas always looked out for Victor like a