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the absolutely true diary of a part-time indian

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Susan Kim

on 9 January 2014

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Transcript of the absolutely true diary of a part-time indian

Character #3: Penelope
Penelope is Junior's friend/sort-of girlfriend. She is extremely popular and very pretty. However, she's definitely not a perfect person and she struggles with bulimia but she ultimately has better circumstances than Junior. She has a good heart and she genuinely does care for Junior. She feels very upset of what he has to go through and is very supportive. I chose this image because it represents Penelope's confident attitude and cheery personality.
Character #2: Rowdy
Rowdy is Junior’s best friend. He was raised by his abusive, alcoholic father and mother. All he’s known for his entire life is cruelty, violence, injustice, and oppressive behavior. He is very violent and aggressive towards those around him and he get very angry easily. He likes to destroy things that are near him to express his anger and inner struggles. However, he protects Junior and defends him. He knows Junior is special and a genuinely good person.
A Quotation: Junior
"My school and tribe are so poor and sad that we have to study from the same dang books our parents studied from. That is absolutely the saddest thing in the world" (Alexie 31). This quotation is when Junior realizes how lame and poor his reservation is. He realizes that it sucks and that it's quite sad. This is the part where he realizes he deserves better. That is why I chose this quotation because it's the moment where Junior is starting to think of a way to change things. For my image, I chose a quote "Something's gotta change; things cannot stay the same." because this is clearly what Junior was thinking. He
wants
to change things. He
wants
his life to be better!
the absolutely true diary of a part-time indian

by Sherman Alexie
written by Susan Kim
Character #4: Gordy
Character #1: Junior Spirit is the main character in this novel and it’s told in his perspective. He was born and raised in an Indian reservation and lives with his older sister Mary, his parents and his grandmother. Junior was born under the worst circumstances. He was born with a brain problem, and therefore, spoke with a lisp. He grew up being bullied and physically abused. Junior’s father is an alcoholic and his family doesn’t have a lot money. His family lives in poverty. The Indian reservation, otherwise known as the “rez”, is full of alcoholics and people who have lost hope. The Indian children are raised on sadness, tragedy and violence. It’s a continuous circle of hopelessness, and suffering that continues on through the generations of Indians until Junior decides to change things. He is very charismatic and he makes light of the situation. He tries his hardest and never gives up hope. He wants the best for himself, and for those around him. He knows he has to get off the reservation to make a difference within himself so he makes that first step knowing that his people would consider him a traitor and a “white lover.” He is brave and strong.
Introductions to the themes in the novel:

Theme #1: One theme that this novel explores is that there is always hope, no matter what the circumstances may be. There is always a light that can guide someone out of darkness.
Theme #2: Another theme that is explored throughout the novel is that life is harsh and unexpected but there is always a silver lining.
Theme #3: Another theme that occurs in the novel is that the weirdest, most unusual people can be the most rewarding and amazing people you can be honoured to have in your life.
Theme #4: Another theme that occurs in the novel is that being a good person really does make a difference.
Gordy is a minor character but he does mean a lot to Junior. Gordy is your average nerd. He is incredibly brilliant and intelligent. He knows not only school-related matters but he is quite a deep thinker and understands Junior's struggles and the problems that are faced in Indian reservations. He becomes Junior's friend.
A Quotation: Rowdy
A Quotation: Penelope
A Quotation: Gordy
Another quotation:
"He not only tutored me and challenged me, but he made me realize that hard work- that the act of finishing, of completing, of accomplishing a task-is joyous" (Alexie 98) I chose this quotation because this is where Junior starts to actually enjoy his time at Reardan academically. I chose a picture of a child writing to represent Junior's process of education at Reardan.
Another Quotation:
"I mean, I was still the kid who had betrayed the tribe. And that couldn't be forgiven. But I was also the kid who's lost his grandmother. And everybody knew that losing my grandmother was horrible. So they all waved the white flag that day and let me grieve in peace" (Alexie 159) I chose this quote because this is where Junior is finally in peace with his fellow Indians. His grandma's death had a silver lining and it was that it gave Junior peace with his fellow tribe. I chose a peace sign to represent Junior's peace with his community.
Symbols:

Theme #1:
One theme that this novel explores is that there is always hope, no matter what the circumstances may be. There is always a light that can guide someone out of darkness. I chose this image because candles burn in the darkness, no matter how small they are. This helps me understand the novel better because Junior is the equivalent of a candlelight, being a light for those around him.
Theme #2:
Another theme that is explored throughout the novel is that life is harsh and unexpected but there is always a silver lining. This helps me understand the novel better because when Junior's grandma dies, this strange "Indian lover" guy came by at her funeral that ended up being a huge joke that made everyone laugh. It was a little piece of laughter during a tough, sad moment.
Theme #3:
Another theme that occurs in the novel is that the weirdest, most unusual people can be the most rewarding and amazing people you can be honoured to have in your life. Junior proves this to be true. He brings joy and laughter to those who suffer even though he is incredibly weird and different than everybody else. Gordy is an example of this theme as well. He is an incredible character. He is ironic and humorous and a down-right joy to be around. I chose an image of a little girl laughing, holding onto a sunflower to represent the happiness that can result in having weird friends.
Theme #4:
Another theme that occurs in the novel is that being a good person really does make a difference.
When Roger decided to become Junior's friend/big brother, it really did help Junior and made his life a whole lot easier. Random acts of kindness really do affect people and can truly make someone's life a whole lot better. I chose an image of a dog petting a small deer to represent Roger and Junior's friendship.
#1: When Junior was playing basketball against Rowdy in front of his fellow Indians and the white folks at the most important game of the season, Junior reached for the ball as Rowdy was about to shoot it, and in that moment, Junior jumped higher and got the ball before it went into the net. This symbol signifies the moment when it becomes clear that Junior (on the "white people" team) is going to win over the Indians which really has a deeper meaning behind it. It signifies that the Indians will always lose. They're going to go home with their empty stomachs and live in poverty, while the privileged "white kids" are going to end up in college and become doctors.

#2: When Junior asks Gordy if they could be friends is another symbol which signifies Junior developing friendships with the "white kids" which is really a big deal because normally, Indians don't befriend white kids. This is Junior's first step into the new world as an ally, not a stranger.

#3: When Junior's grandma is killed by a drunk Indian driver, this signifies Junior's continuous struggle to gain happiness even though he never gives up on trying. There is always another bump on the road for Junior and this is the biggest bump yet so far.

#4:When Coach has the deep chat with Junior all night long when he ends up at the hospital is also a symbolic moment. This shows that Junior really is getting along fine with the "white people" and that he is having success in this new world. This symbolizes that he going to be fine.
Character #1: I chose these pictures to represent Junior because physical and verbal bullying/abuse has always been a constant in his life. Also, his father is an alcoholic and the person on the left is frustrated and worn out from it which is Junior's attitude towards it.
Character #2: I chose the 'no alcohol' sign for the image to represent Rowdy because alcoholism is the main reason why there are so many problems in his life. There is a clear hatred towards it.
Character #4: I chose these images to represent Gordy because they're the stereotypical images of a nerd. This gives an imagery of what Gordy may look like. I also chose a quote about friendship to represent Gordy and Junior's friendship.
I chose a picture of a woman beside an old lady in a hospital bed representing Coach's relationship with Junior as a symbol representation.
The symbols help me understand the novel better because Junior makes personal connections to all of these symbolic moments which makes me understand the depth of all the characters' personalities.
"Rowdy's eyes narrowed. His eyes always narrowed right before he beat the crap out of someone. I started shaking" (Alexie 49). This quotation describes Rowdy's reaction when Junior tells him that he is going to transfer to the "white" school for "white kids" which Rowdy think of as an act of betrayal. I chose this quotation because it well represents Rowdy's quick temper even to those he loves the most. I chose an image of an angry baby to represent what Rowdy's face might look like. Rowdy is obviously clearly about to do something big to Junior.
"I tried to stop her, but Penelope ran over to Roger's car and told him the truth" (Alexie 129). I chose this quotation because this is where Penelope shows her true colours. This is where she shows that she truly cares for Junior and she wants better things for him. I chose an image of a girl pulling up a man to the top of the mountain which represents Penelope helping Junior to the top.
"Gordy studied me now. I was an Indian kid from the reservation. I was lonely and sad and isolated and terrified. Just like Gordy. And so we did become friends. Not the best of friends. Not the best of friends. Not like Rowdy and me. We didn't share secrets. Or dreams. No, we studied together" (Alexie 94).
I chose this quotation because this is the moment where Junior makes his first real friend at Reardan. This is first step into being an ally in the new territory, not a stranger. I chose an image of a Native American child putting his arm around a White child which represents Junior and Gordy's start of a friendship.
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