Part Time Indian Identity

1942 Words8 Pages
The novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie retells the accounts of Junior’s coming of age. Many of his perspectives evolve in the novel including that of his reservation, Reardan and his identity. Throughout his journey he endures tough losses of loved ones but is supported by the love of his family and friends. His daunting pursuit of hope turns into much more as he discovers his true identity. Throughout most of the novel Junior sees the reservation as a depressing land of broken dreams. He even goes as far as saying his reservation is “located approximately one million miles north of Important and two billion miles west of Happy” (Alexie 30). This exaggeration is meant to show exactly what Junior thinks…show more content…
Mr. P tells Junior that the reservation is responsible for the destruction of its resident’s hopes and dreams. He explains to Junior that “If you stay on this rez… they’re going to kill you. I’m going to kill you. We’re going to kill you. You can’t fight us forever” (Alexie 43). Mr. P believes that Junior has not given up on his dreams; that he is constantly fighting for them. When Junior throws his textbook, which his mom also used, at Mr. P, he is acting out because “that old, old, old, decrepit geometry book hit my heart with the force of a nuclear bomb. My hopes and dreams floated up in a mushroom cloud” (Alexie 31). He realizes that poverty is acting as an anchor, keeping him grounded from reaching new heights and succeeding in life. Junior is being persuaded to leave the reservation; to pursue his dreams, the only problem is that he does not know where to go. Mr. P explains to Junior “Son… You’re going to find more and more hope the farther and farther you walk away from this sad, sad, sad reservation” (Alexie 43). Junior is told that he can have a different future from his parent’s or anyone else’s on the reservation. The fact…show more content…
It was the opposite of my family. It was the opposite of me” (Alexie 56). He believes that he is heading in to a world completely opposite to the one he has come to despise on the reservation. He sees hope and money in Reardan, which is opposite to what he sees on the reservation. It is natural for him to feel out of place but he knows he must continue going to Reardan if he wants to keep his dreams a possibility. When Junior first meets Penelope, he believes that she is the embodiment of Reardan, his idea of it being a place of hope. In his first conversation with Penelope, Junior says that he “was suddenly aware that she was the prettiest girl I had ever seen up close. She was movie star pretty” (Alexie 61). Junior is clearly attracted towards Penelope in a similar way that he is attracted towards Reardan. He sees the similar characteristics of hope and fortune between Penelope and Reardan. Junior later finds out that Penelope is a bulimic, that she “gorges on her pain and then throws it up and flushes it away” (Alexie 107). This is the first time in the novel that Junior sees a negative quality of Penelope which does not change his feeling for Penelope. Consequently, only a few pages later Junior finds out another quality of Penelope and in turn, Reardan. Penelope expresses her
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