The Absolutely True Book Assignment

Written by Sherman Alexie, Assignment by Ethan Waddle

Summary

Arnold, or his rez name Junior, is a 14 year old indian who has disabilities and gets bullied because of them often. His friend Rowdy is his only friend, as everyone else just makes fun of him. So, he decides to transfer to a rich white kid school named Reardan. This causes Junior to lose his only friend, but things are a lot better at his new school. Nobody bullies him after he shows them who’s boss, he gets the hottest girl, and joins the varsity basketball team. And in the end, Rowdy and Junior regain some of their friendship. "Son, ' Mr. P said. 'You're going to find more and more hope the farther and farther you walk away from this sad, sad, sad reservation." pg. 43

Character Analysis

The main character of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is Junior, or his real name Arnold. He has many disabilities, such as a hydrocephalic head, lisp and stutter. He is considered "weird" and is bullied because of these things. But he is intelligent, funny, an artist and wants to succeed in life. "So obviously, I looked goofy on the outside, but it was the inside stuff that was the worst." pg. 3

Conflict/Resolution

A type of conflict Junior faces is self vs. society. He faces bulling by his fellow peers which sort of ends as everyone hates him after he transfers schools, but he still is away from them at his new school. He is bullied there too, but he punches the leader of those jerks which ends all of the disrespect, solving most of the bulling. "I felt like Rodger had kicked me in the face. That was the most racist thing I'd ever heard in my life... So I punched Rodger in the face." pg. 64-65

Theme

One message that can be taken away from this book is to not listen to negative things people tell you when you can't control those things, and don't let them tell you how you have to live your life. This theme is present at many times throughout the book with Junior transferring schools without the consent of the people of the reservation and while being bullied and judged for how he looks.

Textual Evidence

A quote that I think to be one of the most important in the book is "You have to dream big to get big" pg. 136. This is a really basic quote, but when you think that Junior's dad told him this, someone who has already given up, someone who has lost all hope just like everyone else on the reservation, this quote really means much more. And considering that if Junior didn't listen to his teacher and if he didn't dream about something more than what was waiting for him on the rez his life would probably never start to become better because he would just decide that there was no hope for Native Americans just like everyone else.

Rating

This book deserves a 5 out of 5 in my personal opinion. The book can be hilarious at times, and it is one of the only books that I could read through in 1-3 sittings because of how entertaining it is. It also seems to be more real than other books with drawings and expressions by the character that seem so human as it doesn't use much complex words and dialogue. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is sure to steal the attention of teens and adults alike who like a book that isn't afraid to cross a few boundaries.

Multi-Media Sources

Native American Teens: Who We Are

Citations

Infoplease

Yellowstone Park

Lillian S Wells Department of Neurosurgery at the University of Florida

Native American Living Conditions on Reservations - Native American Aid

YouTube

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