The Boy Who Overcame Diversity

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian


Arnold, nicknamed Junior, is a poor modern day Indian living on a reservation that attends an all white kid school named Reardan. He goes to a white kid school to seek a better life off the reservation. Junior betrayed his only friend Rowdy by leaving the reservation school. He befriends Gordy and develops a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship with Penelope. He endures many painful losses in his family. Quote from passage "We only know how to lose and be lost"(Alexie 173). Rowdy forgave Junior by asking if he wanted to shoot some hoops. Rowdy told Junior he was a nomadic Indian and he was going to travel the world and be someone. They played one on one basketball, it was the first time they didn't keep score.

Character Analysis

Arnold, nicknamed Junior, is a poor Indian living on a reservation that goes to an all white kid farmer school named Reardan. He looks awkward and is a hydrocephalus and gets made fun of by kids and teachers. Junior is an artist; he draws cartoons to escape the real world and to make sense of it. With a pen in his hand, he feels like somebody important. A quote from the passage "So I draw because I feel like it might be my only real chance to escape the reservation" (Alexie 6). Junior's family is his mother, father, big sister and grandma. His friends are Rowdy, Gordy, Penelope and Roger.


Character vs. Character:

Junior vs. Rowdy, their problem started when Junior left the reservation school to go to Reardan. Rowdy got upset and mad, so he ran off hating Junior. They solve their problem by Rowdy asking Junior if he wanted to shoot hoops. While they were shooting hoops they talked and solved their issues.

Character vs. Self:

Junior vs. self, he is a fighter and he does not give up even though his body does not give him advantages when it comes to life. Even though things might not go his way he keeps fighting. Junior solves his problem by keep going, not giving up and trying to become someone.

Character vs. Society:

Junior vs. society, he goes up against everyone that doubts him and makes fun of him. As Junior tries to become someone, there are always people trying to tear him down and make him feel bad. Even though he is the scapegoat in his society, he keeps fighting. Junior solves his problem by trying to earn respect and become someone at his new school Reardan and to leave his old ways and past from the reservation.


The quote from the passage "Traveling between Reardan and Wellpinit, between the little white town and the reservation, I always felt like a stranger. I was half Indian in one place and half white in the other. It was like being Indian was my job, but it was only a part-time job. And it didn't pay well at all"(Alexie 118).


The theme of the book is, you are meant to be more than nothing, reach success by not giving up and doing the best you can do. As things might not go your way, you can not give up. You need to look at the bright side of the situation and make do with what you got. A quote from the passage "I don't want you to fail. I don't want you to fade away"(Alexie 40).

Textual Evidence

The quote that was my favorite and I thought was most meaningful was,"I draw all the time. I draw cartoons of my mother and father; my sister and grandmother; my best friend, Rowdy; and everybody else on the rez. I draw because words are too unpredictable. I draw because words are too limited. If you speak and write in English, or Spanish, or Chinese, or any other language, then only a certain percentage of human beings will get your meaning"(Alexie 5). This quote was the most meaningful because it set the base of what the book is about. The quote shows how his cartoons relate to his life. When he draws his cartoon's they help him express what he is feeling. The cartoons help him handle his problems.

Book Review and Rating

Rating: 5 Stars


The rating this book deserves is five stars because after every page turned there is a new plot twist. The book brings you through a story about a teenage boy struggling with society and fighting through it. That through all of Junior's problems he used humor and discovers a strength inside of him he never knew he had. Everything that makes you laugh is also heartbreaking, it is the best combination that makes this book perfect. Through the whole book there will be many different changes in Junior's attitude towards life that are funny but at the same time heartbreaking.

A "Brave" lesson on bullying

Related Links


  • Barcott, Bruce. "Off the Rez." The New York Times. The New York Times, 10 Nov. 2007. Web. 04 May 2016.

  • "Bullying and Native American Children on Reservations." Official Blog of The Tall Trees Entries. Web. 03 May 2016.

  • "Bullying's Impact on American Indian/Alaskan Native Students - NEA Today." NEA Today. 27 Oct. 2011. Web. 03 May 2016.

  • "~ Fort Spokane and Crown Point Overlook ~." Fort Spokane and Crown Point Overlook. Web. 04 May 2016.

  • "SCAIR SOARING EAGLES Pow-wow Dance Classes San Diego." SOARING EAGLES POWWOW DANCING REGAILIA SCHOOL SCAIR San Diego Indian Education Cultural Programs. Web. 04 May 2016.

  • "The Absolute True Diary of a Part Time Indian." "Subtract. Make It Simple. Make It Pure."—CRISTÒBAL BALENCIAGA. Web. 04 May 2016.

  • "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian - Snug Bug." The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian - Snug Bug. Web. 04 May 2016.

  • "Tradition, Change, and Kinship in Sherman Alexie’s [The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian]." The Ever and Ever That Fiction Allows. 07 Jan. 2014. Web. 04 May 2016.

  • Twelvedottv. "A "Brave" Lesson on Bullying." YouTube. YouTube, 18 Dec. 2012. Web. 03 May 2016.