Adolescents experience a developmental journey as they transition from child to adult, and in doing so are faced with many developmental milestones. Physical, cognitive, social and emotional changes are occurring during this tumultuous stage of life, and making sense of one’s self and identity becomes a priority. Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian addresses the challenges of adolescence in an engaging tale, but deals with minority communities and cultures as well. Establishing an identity has been called one of the most important milestones of adolescent development (Ruffin, 2009). Additionally, a central part of identity development includes ethnic identity (ACT for Youth, 2002). While some teens search for cultural identity within a smaller community, others are trying to find their place in the majority culture. (Bucher and Hinton, 2010)The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian chronicles Junior’s journey to discovery of self. As with many developing teens, he finds himself spanning multiple identities and trying to figure out where he belongs. “Traveling between Reardan and Wellpinit, between the little white town and the reservation, I always felt like a stranger. I was half Indian in one place and half white in the other” (p.118). On the reservation, he was shunned for leaving to go to a white school. At Reardon, the only other Indian was the school mascot, leaving Junior to question his decision to attend school he felt he didn’t deserve. Teens grappling with bicultural identities can relate to Junior’s questions of belonging. Not only is Junior dealing with the struggle between white vs. Indian identities, but with smaller peer group identities as well. In Wellpinit, Junior is th... ... middle of paper ... ...e level.” Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, v. 39, no. 6 (March 1996): 436-445. [E Journal] Fegar, Mary-Virginia. “I Want to Read: How Culturally Relevant Texts Increase Student Engagement in Reading.” Multicultural Education, 13:3 (Spring 2006): 18-19. [E Journal] Nilson, Allen Pace & Kenneth L. Donelson. “Stages of Literary Appreciation” in Literature for Today’s Young Adults. Longman, 2001: pp. 35-42. [PDF in Blackboard] Ruffin, Novella. Adolescent Growth and Development. Virginia Cooperative Extension, 2009. http://pubs.ext.vt.edu/350/350-850/350-850.html The Search Institute. The 40 Developmental Assets for Adolescents. 2010. http://www.search-institute.org/content/40-developmental-assets-adolescents-ages-12-18 Steinberg, Laurence & Morris, Amanda Sheffield. “Adolescent Development.” Annual Review of Psychology, (Annual 2001): 83-110. [E Journal]
In the process of reading and completing the book The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian it became quite clear to me that me and Junior had similarities in our lives. Junior grew up in a household that didn’t have that much income. As readers we found that out early in the book. Some nights Junior wouldn’t have a meal to eat. When Oscar Juniors dog got sick the family didn’t have the money to pay for his medication so they had to shot their sons dog. As the book went on there was numerous more examples about the role poverty played in Juniors life. I myself grew up in a household that didn’t have that much income so I related to Juniors experiences. Growing up there were countless times where I would want new clothes, games,
Often at time’s society forces us to make choices we would rather not make, mainly because one is different or a different color. The Absolutely True Diary Of A Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, is about how a teenage Indian who lives on Spokane reserve moves to a white school and gets shamed for being Indian, for making this decision his tribe has disowned him for leaving the rez and moving to the city. The main ideas are the rez, school, and family/friends. Jr’s dad is a drunk, but he loves his son. He has never missed a basketball game,Dad is an alcoholic who will disappear for days to drink. Rowdy is the toughest kid on the rez and all the other kids are afraid of him, but he always protects Junior from bullies. In return Junior helps
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie is a novel about Arnold Spirit (Junior), a boy from the Spokane Indian Reservation who decides to attend high school outside the reservation in order to have a better future. During that first year at Reardan High School, Arnold has to find his place at his all-white school, cope with his best friend Rowdy and most of his tribe disowning him, and endure the deaths of his grandmother, his father’s best friend, and his sister. Alexie touches upon issues of identity, otherness, alcoholism, death, and poverty in order to stay true to his characters and the cultures within the story. Through the identification of the role of the self, identity, and social behavior within the book, the reader can understand Arnold’s story to a greater depth.
Racism, stereotypes, and white privilege are all concepts that affect all of us whether we believe it or not. If an adolescent of a minority can distinguish these concepts in his society then we all should be aware of them. These concepts are all clearly demonstrated in “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian”. Anyone and everyone could clearly understand this novel but the intended audience is middle school to college level students. The novel’s goal is to help white students understand the effects of white privilege in an easier, more understandable way. Concepts are easier to understand when someone feels like they are connecting to someone they have things in common with, which is exactly what this novel does. I, for one, was always
What makes each individual specific is identity and loss of identity which can be harmful. Junior carries around a lot of stress that he is losing his identity because he feels so much pressure from the people on the reservation and from the people in Reardan. Junior says, “traveling between Reardan and Wellpinit, between the little white town and the reservation, I always felt like a stranger. I was half Indian in one place and half white in the other. It was like being Indian was my job, but it was only a part-time job” (118). People at home call Junior an “apple” (132) because they believed that he looks like an Indian but he acts like a white person. He feels this difference too. He considers himself “red on the outside and white on the inside” (132). This contradiction between his feelings brings him a sense of loss of identity which makes him assimilate and redefine himself over and over again. Discovering new opportunities and fighting for a new future causes Junior to sacrifice many things, including the feeling of losing his identity which he faces throughout the story. He has to decide to let this feeling go or allow for it to remain with him and cause him to struggle with integrating himself. Therefore, he starts to realize that he “might be a lonely Indian boy” (217) but he is not “alone in his
The establishment of identity is an important, complex task for all adolescents, and is considered a major developmental task for all adolescents. It is particularly complicated for adolescents belonging to ethnic and minority groups. Ethnic identity of the majority group of individuals is constantly validated and reinforced in a positive manner where as the minority group is constantly ridiculed and punished in a negative manner. What does this say for those adolescents who are the minority and not the majority? It is important to study or research ethnic identity because it provides better knowledge to help one understand striving for a sense of unity and connectivenesss in which the self provides meaning for direction and meaning of ethnic identity (Spencer, 1990). It is also important to study or research the differences between these groups due to beliefs and values.
Adjusting to another culture is a difficult concept, especially for children in their school classrooms. In Sherman Alexie’s, “Indian Education,” he discusses the different stages of a Native Americans childhood compared to his white counterparts. He is describing the schooling of a child, Victor, in an American Indian reservation, grade by grade. He uses a few different examples of satire and irony, in which could be viewed in completely different ways, expressing different feelings to the reader. Racism and bullying are both present throughout this essay between Indians and Americans. The Indian Americans have the stereotype of being unsuccessful and always being those that are left behind. Through Alexie’s negativity and humor in his essay, it is evident that he faces many issues and is very frustrated growing up as an American Indian. Growing up, Alexie faces discrimination from white people, who he portrays as evil in every way, to show that his childhood was filled with anger, fear, and sorrow.
Growing up on a reservation where failing was welcomed and even somewhat encouraged, Alexie was pressured to conform to the stereotype and be just another average Indian. Instead, he refused to listen to anyone telling him how to act, and pursued his own interests in reading and writing at a young age. He looks back on his childhood, explaining about himself, “If he'd been anything but an Indian boy living on the reservation, he might have been called a prodigy. But he is an Indian boy living on the reservation and is simply an oddity” (17). Alexie compares the life and treatment of an Indian to life as a more privileged child. This side-by-side comparison furthers his point that
Have you ever wanted something really badly, but couldn’t afford it? This is a common occurrence, but what about food? Have you ever went to be hungry because you couldn’t afford to eat? Unfortunately, Junior, the main character in the book, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, felt exactly this way for food. Even though Junior didn’t have as many resources as the other “white kids,” he still chose to look at the positives. This novel shows that even in times of great hardship, people can still choose to have hope and look at the good in their lives.
Imagine walking 22 miles to school every single day. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is a book by Sherman Alexie following the life of Arnold, also known as Junior, and his struggles as a poor Native American boy going to a wealthy white school. Being poor throws challenges at Arnold in and outside of school, and he must hold onto hope, new friends, and perseverance to escape the cycle of poverty.
The main issue that children face during this stage is self-identification. Adolescents are making the transition to adulthood and trying to figure out exactly who they are. Children during this time, often experience an identity crisis as they explore many different beliefs and value systems in the search for self-identity (Woolfolk, 2013, p.102). Societal forces, such as race, sex and class, also play an important role in self-identification, especially in regards to African American youth. Erikson believed that the search for identity encompassed not only how an individual viewed him or herself but also how they were viewed by society (Brittian 2012). African Americans, between the ages of 12 and 18, grapple with the same issues all adolescents experience, such as physical changes and the desire for autonomy. However, African American adolescents also deal with racial prejudice and the role that it plays in shaping their self-perception. According to Brittian (2012), the way that African Americans handle issues of race, rather problematic or constructive, has a major impact on the formation of their self-identity. Identity is the focal point of the adolescence stage and when children can’t decide who they are or their place in society, they become hampered by an identity