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Character Analysis: Junior

The character under investigation is Junior; he is the main protagonist of Sherman Alexie’s novel “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian”. Rowdy ignores Junior after he first tries to talk to him claiming to be sick of Indian men who delight white ladies to be like bowling trophies. Junior regards himself to be not experienced in love, as he is ignored by even some of the Indian girls. He begins to date Penelope at Readarn. This makes Gordy to be accurate in his statement where he claims Arnold to be a racist. According to Junior, white girls are more beautiful than the Indian females. I personally shun racism because if God created us equal then the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.

The readers are introduced to Junior’s poverty when he says that his family misses a meal not because of choice but due to poverty. Still, he hopes his parents will have better meals in the future when he starts earning money. In my opinion, some of the reasons of Indians’ poverty are due to lack of motivation and absence of someone who could push them into achieving more.

In my view, the author’s intention in writing this novel is to show how Arnold moves out of the place where he used to lead simple life and tries to fit himself in a totally different world. I think that this novel has both internal and external conflicts. The external conflic can be seen in the difference between the cultures of the towns belonging to the whites and the reservation. Unlike other Indians residing in Spokane Indian Reservation, Arnold moves to stay in Reardan, a white farm meant for the rich, and finds himself to be the sole Indian in the school that is totally occupied by whites. The internal conflict concerns the hardships of establishing Arnold’s own independence while maintaining loyalty to his tribe. In my opinion, this conflict cannot be solved only through Arnold’s hard work; it needs the understanding of others.

Roger told Junior a racist joke on one of his first few days at Readarn. Junior punches him in the face and he falls down. Since then, respect between the two became eminent and Roger finds himself assisting Junior in difficult situations.

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Mr. P., Junior’s geometry teacher, tells him that all his friends have already given up. The fact makes Junior leave the reservation and join Reardan High School. It is here that Junior associates with those who have ambitions, making him rekindle his own hope amidst the hardships he is facing. Junior says, “we were supposed to be happy with our limitations. But there was no way I was going to sit still. Nope, I wanted to fly.” I too choose to live a life of opportunities and possibilities knowing that things must change. Such attitude defines my outlook and makes me open to inoovations.

Friendship between Junior and Gordy makes Junior realize that the world out there is more than Rez, Wellpinit or even Reardan. Gordy advises Junior to approach life like he approaches books: with hope and having in mind that something worthy will come out of it someday. I also have chosen positive friends who inspire me to always work hard and unfold the challenges and mysteries of life.

Junior recognizes that his team, the Reardan Indians, experiences some problems, although they are not life threatening.  Such recognition makes Arnold remember all the life-threatening situations like hunger, drunken fathers or even drug dealers. The Readarn team owns a lot of material possessions and its members have stable families. This is unlike the Indian boys who do not have any of these privileges. Arnold regrets his reaction to the victory and bursts into tears; his team thought those were tears of happiness, but actually those were tears of shame.

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The primary conflict arises when Junior has to make a choice of leaving the reservation and attending a school belonging to the whites at Reardan. Being regarded as disloyal, Junior gets trapped between two worlds: his reservation home and the white school he is to attend. Feeling that he does not belong anywhere, he tries to adapt to a new identity for himself. He sees himself not as an Indian but a person who originates from different tribes.

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