The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian
The absolutely true diary of a part time Indian is a very powerful book about a young man named Arnold Spirit, or Junior as all of the other Indians called him. He didn’t really fit in with all of the other Indians on the reservation (the “Rez”). He was born with “water on the brain” which caused him to have some disabilities including a stutter and a lisp. He would get made fun of by the other Indian kids, men, and some women. That is where Junior’s best friend, Rowdy, comes in. All of the younger people on the reservation were afraid of Rowdy. Rowdy protected Junior in anyway that he could. Rowdy was more like a big brother figure. They hung out all the time and they did everything together. Rowdy had some problems at home. His father was abusive and a drunk. Junior was his escape. He would spend holidays with him, everyday after school, and summers.
Next, Junior’s family. His father is a drunk. He would disappear at different times. Although his father always disappeared, Junior knew that he loved him. He always showed up to all of his games, recitals, and performances. His mother was very smart. She would read various books. He said that if she was able to, she would have went to college. His sister, Mary, ran away a lot. Her nickname was “Mary Runs Away”. The book didn’t really describe her very much. Her room was in the basement, and we found that later on she wanted to write romance novels. She ran off, got married and started writing her life story.
Life on the reservation was difficult for the Indians. All of them were poor and lived in poverty. Most of the Indians were drunks and they gambled. Their school systems were very low quality and it couldn’t even afford good teachers. The teachers that the school could afford were people who “forgot” to come to school. They had to study from the same books that their parents studied from. The reservation had a different set of rules than everywhere else. If someone disrespects you, your family, or your fellow Indians, you HAVE to fight them. Mr. P told Junior to get away and leave the reservation somehow, because he realized that Junior had potential to do something great with his life. He said that the reservation will only hold him back. Mr. P also told Junior that all of the people on the reservation gave up. He doesn’t want Junior to follow that pattern. He wants him to go out and get a good education and do something great with his life. Mr. P told Junior that he wont be able to do that as long as he stays on the reservation. Junior came to the conclusion that he wanted to go to the “white” school, Reardan.
What does it mean to be a part-time Indian? When Junior transferred schools, the kids on the reservation started to treat him worse than they did before, including Rowdy. They called him a traitor. Junior also felt different when he was at Reardan. He tried to pretend that he was middle class and he had money. He would portray himself as...