A Part-Time Indian

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In the novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Junior is struggling to redefine his identity after he is cast out of his hometown and exposed to racism and bullying in an unfamiliar environment. Moreover, the school he decides to attend is in a predominantly white town and aside from the unfortunate coincidence of the school’s mascot, he is the only Indian kid at the school. Yet, Junior is too rebellious to belong to a single community and thereby struggles to be a part of any community. Additionally, after growing up on a small reservation, he finds it difficult to deal with his sudden loneliness at Reardan, the middle class white school. Instead, Junior “the zombie” describes his morning waking up on the reservation as “zitty…show more content…
In fact, one of the key moments in which this notion is highlighted is when Junior confesses his love for Dawn to Rowdy. Junior says, “She was out of my league, and even though I was only twelve I knew that I’d be one of those guys who always fell in love with the unreachable, ungettable, and uninterested” (74). Yet, in spite of his self-doubt Junior admits his feelings when he tells Rowdy, mistakenly assuming that he can rely on his friends’ support or sensitivity. Moreover, Junior bursts out into tears after Rowdy claims, “Dawn doesn’t give a shit about you” (75). This is a particularly crucial moment because it demonstrates why Junior chose to leave his hometown school for a white school. He understands he is different than the others on the reservation and he knows that he needs to be in a motivational environment where he will continue to be hopeful of his aspirations. However, Junior does express discomfort as a basketball all-star at Reardan when he mentions he will never be remembered as one of the greats since he is an Indian outsider. Once again Junior indicates to be hopeful and continues to stay in the white school. In fact, he even attempts to justify the racism he experiences at Reardan while his resistance to assimilate to the conditions of either Wellpinit nor Reardan make him an outsider anywhere he…show more content…
He constantly mentions the need to prove his capabilities to others. Junior is caught up in his own rage and ambition when he makes many of his choices. As mentioned, one of the most radical decisions Junior makes is when he decides to leave the reservation school to attend Reardan. It is important to note he is convinced to leave the reservation after his teacher tells him he should. Therefore in this particular example Junior demonstrates that his innocence and impressionability motivates him to go against his cultural norms in order to stay away from the pain and misery that he has seen people in Wellpinit drown under. When he discusses his feelings over the basketball game against Wellpinit he describes the event as one of the most important days of his life. Although he admits he is terrified to play he feels he needs to measure up to the expectations that have been imposed on him. He mentions, “I guess that’s what it comes down to. The power of expectations” (180). Even as his father clarifies he is probably a “yucker” because he does not want to play, Junior convinces himself otherwise by saying,“ it didn’t matter one way or the other, I guess. We were just a good team” (181). Junior proves that he is drawn to the motivation and support he lacks on the reservation which are essential to help him through his insecurities and self-doubts and as a consequence forms this dual identity that reflect
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