The Absolutely True Story of a Part Time Indian

Table of Content

Both the white man who attended Grandmother Spirit’s funeral and Mr. P exhibit similarities in their concern for the Native Americans and their appreciation of the culture. However, they also have differences. While Mr. P genuinely cares about Junior and aims for his success as a Native American, as well as inspiring others, he used to inflict physical harm on rowdy Indian children when he was a younger teacher, indicating a desire to eradicate Indian culture.

Ted showed genuine concern for Indians by collecting Indian art. Junior, on the other hand, finds solace in drawing cartoons. Through his artwork, Junior seeks a platform to communicate with the world and gain its attention. When Junior mentions his parents’ unfulfilled dreams in relation to the reservation, he suggests that the reservation hinders success and implies that with proper motivation, individuals could achieve their aspirations. Drawing serves as Junior’s pathway to potentially escaping the reservation and perhaps becoming a renowned artist.

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Junior’s cartoons reflect his understanding of the profound impact racism has had on his life and his family’s. He believes that becoming an artist is the only way he can achieve wealth and fame, given that most successful people of color are in the arts. Describing his cartoons as “tiny little lifeboats,” Junior emphasizes their importance to him. While in the predominantly white town of Reardon, he considers himself “half-Indian,” whereas on his home reservation of Wellpinit, he identifies as “half-white.” Junior sees being Indian as a part-time job that does not pay well, and in order to fit in at Reardon, he pretends to have more money than he actually does. He lies about his ethnicity, economic status, and personal history. Despite these deceptions, Junior gains popularity as a basketball player and even becomes a star on the team. However, when Junior’s team faces Wellpinit, his old school where Rowdy plays for, the fans heckle and insult him. They boo him, calling him a traitor, and Rowdy plays rough against him due to his anger. Conversely, when the Wellpinit team visits Reardon for a game, Junior is hailed by the fans. These experiences lead Junior to question his own identity and struggle with defining who he truly is.Junior perceives himself as white when he goes to Reardon, but when he returns to his reservation, he reclaims his identity as an Indian. His tribe completely disowns him, viewing him as a traitor, whereas the community in Reardon accepts and brings him joy.

Junior faces the challenge of breaking down racial barriers and finding his true identity as he navigates through two different lives. In the end, he comes to the realization that he belongs to multiple tribes – the Spokane Indian tribe, the American immigrant tribe, the tribe of basketball players, the tribe of teenage boys, the tribe of poverty, and the tribe of beloved sons. Junior understands that being a “part-time Indian” does not mean being half-white; instead, it signifies being a member of various tribes, depicted as a pie chart full of different identities. A.

Junior, the writer of the novel, was born with excessive fluid on his brain. He humorously refers to his condition as having a head so large that it attracts little Indian skulls. As a hydrocephalic, he faces the threat of brain damage and seizures. Unfortunately, Arnold’s physical limitations cause him to endure hardships on the reservation, where he is often targeted and bullied for being different. On top of that, he also struggles with a stutter, a lisp, unattractive appearance including thick black glasses, and a slim frame with oversized hands and feet.

Junior faced bullying from people in his reservation and also had to deal with his alcoholic father. However, he remained hopeful and determined, despite numerous obstacles. These challenges played a significant role in the overall narrative. If Junior had not transferred to Reardon, he would not have achieved as much in his first year or exceeded expectations in his life.

There are various themes present in this text, including identity, home, race, poverty, dreams, plans, and tradition. B. Rowdy is Arnold’s closest friend, his arch-nemesis, and everything in between. As his tough-sounding name suggests, Rowdy is a rather resilient individual. He defends Arnold when necessary but also bullies him at times. Rowdy became upset when Junior made the decision to transfer to Reardon. Despite their conflicts, Rowdy and Junior will always support each other in the end. Rowdy faces the challenge of having an alcoholic father who physically abuses him on a daily basis. C.

Penelope is Junior’s beautiful and perfect blonde friend. She embodies perfection, being described as “all white on white on white” and comparable to a delightful vanilla dessert cake. Despite her physical beauty, Penelope is also kind, caring, and compassionate. Junior is deeply in love with her and cherishes their friendship.
On the other hand, D. Gordy is known as the boy genius of Reardon High School. He played a crucial role in introducing Arnold to the world of books and knowledge, igniting his passion for learning. Initially, Gordy decided to assist Junior by offering him study tips. During their conversation, they discovered common interests and formed a strong bond, ultimately becoming good friends.

E. Grandmother Spirit is a powwow famous figure and Junior’s main source of advice. She is known for her tolerance and possesses qualities of love, care, and honesty.

F. Mr. P is Junior’s Geometry math teacher who appears peculiar in appearance. He has a tendency to forget attending classes and fulfilling his teaching duties. Arnold throws his geometry book at Mr. P, who happens to be the white teacher. Mr. P plays a vital role in convincing Arnold that he is capable of being a fighter, ultimately inspiring him to leave the reservation. Without Mr. P’s influence, Junior would have remained on the reservation, feeling unworthy of success in his life.

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The Absolutely True Story of a Part Time Indian. (2016, Nov 22). Retrieved from

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