Theme Of Reservation In The Absolutely True Diary Of Indian Reservation

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“The rez” better known as the Spokane Indian Reservation is one of the main settings in Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian. The Spokane Indian Reservation is located in Wellpinit, Washington. This reservation is not just a home for the Spokane Indians, to them it symbolizes family, culture, tradition, and unity. To most of the Native-Americans living here, the reservation also symbolizes poverty, broken dreams, and death. Arnold, the main character in Alexie’s book, sees beyond his culture on the reservation into reality that is hidden. The rez is a trap for everyone living there it is a place where dreams die and hope is nonexistent. Everyone here is stuck in a continuous reoccurring cycle of poverty, alcoholism,…show more content…
In actuality this is not true; the author does his best in the beginning of the story to point out that the people living on the rez are poverty stricken. The narrator refers to his home as a “poor-ass Spokane Indian Reservation” when first mentioned in the book (Alexie 7). The book begins by giving us a description of the main character Arnold who had many issues growing up. One problem he had faced was that he had too many teeth. The book tells how the dentist on the reservation only works once a year which means Arnold had to get all his extra teeth pulled at the same time. The author uses this background information on the main character to symbolize poverty on the reservation. This is just an example of the things this town does not have the luxury of having. It’s clear that many people hear struggle. Arnold says “the reservation is meant to be a prison” in the sense that they are isolated from the real world (Alexie 216). Not only are they struggling but they believe struggling is normal. The poverty that the Spokane people face goes un-talked about because to them poverty is the norm that everyone deals…show more content…
To many people living here, the reservation is like an island to the extent that there is no leaving. The reality is that they are going nowhere, but they need a way to escape. In the book Arnold’s escape was to transfer school; his sister escapes by getting married and moving to Montana. Even though both Arnold and his sister set a different fate for themselves the rez still does not appear any better. For the other people who are stuck here on the reservation the only escape is alcohol. Alcohol is prevalent throughout the book. Arnold states “There are all kinds of addicts, I guess. We all have pain. And we all look for ways to make the pain go away” (Alexie 107). Most people here can be considered alcoholics and the reason they are drinking is to hide their pain. Even though most people living on the reservation are contempt with their life it’s obvious they are depressed about their situation and the best way for them to get over this depression is to drink. Alcohol affects everyone on the reservation. It does nothing but cause pain to Arnold and everyone around him. His parents drink too much, his parents friends drink too much, and even his best friends parents drink too much. The irony of a whole community full of alcoholics is that drinking only leads to pain and death. Death from alcohol is a usual thing on the reservation. Arnold’s dad best friend was killed
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