The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian Literary Analysis

1288 WordsJul 17, 20146 Pages
The Absolutely True Diary Of A Part Time Indian Literary Analysis “The Absolutely True Diary Of a Part Time Indian” is a native based novel written by Sherman Alexie about a small Indian boy named Arnold, but called Junior by everyone on his reservation. Arnold struggles with his identity, torn between a part of his Native culture and another in his white cultured school. Along with this, his best friend, Rowdy, starts holding a grudge against Arnold, precisely because he changed schools, as if Arnold only changed schools to hurt him. Arnold went to the white school because of their improved academics, instead of the school on the reservation, where the teachers try to “Kill the Indian to save the child” but end up damaging them instead. Showing Natives as stoic people with no emotions or feelings, the novel also disrupts the stereotype of the stoic Indian by revealing humour in difficult situations, a supportive community, and through the characters of Rowdy and Mary (Arnold’s sister). The novel depicts the Indians living on the reservation as people who have lost their culture, and resorted to drinking and promiscuous activity to cope with their forgotten traditions. There are moments in the book that show their inner feelings and reflexes their culture has taught them, such as sharing their hardships as a community: “For about two minutes, [they] all sat quiet. Who knew what to say? And then [Arnold’s] mother started laughing. And that set [them] all off. Two thousands Indians laughed at the same time. [They] kept laughing. It was the most glorious noise [Arnold had] ever heard.”(Alexie 166) In Native culture, death is not only a ritual experienced by one person, but by the whole tribe as is affects everybody when an elder dies. This shows how Natives are not actually stoic and can experience pain and happiness with all their fellow natives, despite being
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