Let’s go over page 217 in The Absolute True Diary of a Part-Time Indian:
Look at these quotes—
“I realized that I might be a lonely Indian boy, but I was not alone in my loneliness. There were millions of other Americans who had left their birthplaces in search of a dream. I realized that, sure, I was a Spokane Indian. I belonged to that tribe. But I also belonged to the tribe of American immigrants. And to the tribe of basketball players…”
“It was a huge realization. And that’s when I knew that I was going to be okay. But it also reminded me of the people who were not going to be okay” (Alexie 217).
Arnold lost people who were close to him, he comes from a troubled home, but he realizes that he will be able to make it through.
How does the fact that you belong to the tribes you listed make you feel?
Examine the picture that shows Junior/Arnold’s attitude toward being Indian and how Indians are treated.
What is Junior/Arnold’s attitude toward being Indian and how Indians are treated?
*difference in clothing (White people dress better, other kids dress better.)
* Indians on the reservation are unhealthy. Dressing well and put-together vs. not caring. Arnold becomes his “white name” instead of Junior his tribal name. He feels split.
*White students seem to have a bright future, Native Americans seem to have a future on the reservation that is dark and lacks hope. He feels Native Americans don’t fit in and are put on a reservation.
*His confidence develops during his interactions with people in school (punching Roger in the nose, joining basketball team, getting up during practice, talks to a girl about bulimia and takes her to a dance, confronts his teacher about petrified wood).
*mistreated by girlfriend’s dad and threatened if he gets her pregnant
Arnold is divided (rez/Rearden) and is conscious of his race.
He feels white and Indian. He feels out of place (betrayed tribe). He has to put his heritage aside in school. (Part-time jobs don’t require all of your focus.)
“I wanted to live up to expectations. I guess that’s what it comes down to. The power of expectations. And as they expected more of me, I expected more of myself” (180).
Everyone expects something of him—his tribe, parents, grandmother, school. He doesn’t want to disappoint them. The expectations have a positive influence on him. (Negative expectations also impact him—school, basketball, drunk Indians, stereotypes)
“I realized that I might be a lonely Indian boy, but I was not alone in my loneliness. There were millions of other Americans who had left their birthplaces in search of a dream” (217).
He has an epiphany (awakening) that he has left his birthplace in search of a dream. He has a future of hope—not a vanishing past.