The Absolutely True Story of a Part Time Indian
Mid-Term Essays 1. There are several ways that Mr. P and the white man that showed up at Grandmother Spirit’s funeral are alike. For instance, they both care about Indians and like the culture. Although Mr. P and the white man had a few similarities, they were also different in that Mr. P actually cares about Junior and wants him to be a successful Indian and to motivate others. But, when Mr. P was a younger teacher he used to hurt a lot of Indian kids by beating them if they were rowdy. Mr. P was taught to kill Indian culture he used physical action to do so.
Ted honestly did care about Indians he even collected Indian art. 2. By drawing cartoons, Junior feels safe. Junior draws because he wants to talk to the world. He wants the world to pay attention to him. By Junior saying that “Who my parents would have been if somebody had paid attention to their dream” he means that the reservation creates or makes you feel like you’re not able to succeed, that maybe if somebody cared enough to motivate them they might be what they dreamed of. Junior draws because he feels like it might be his only real chance to escape the reservation maybe even be a famous artist.
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Junior’s cartoons show his understanding of the ways that racism has deeply impacted his and his family’s life. Because almost all of the rich and famous brown people are artists he thinks that’s the only way he can become rich and famous. Junior said “My cartoons are tiny little lifeboats” to describe how important it is to him. 3. When Junior is in Reardon the little white town, he is “half-Indian”, and when he is in Wellpinit his home reservation, he is “half white”. “It was like being Indian was my job,” he says, “but it was only a part-time job. And it didn’t pay well at all. I think by Junior pretended to have more money than he does because he wanted fit in at Reardon. He lies about being full Indian, about being poor, and about his history and situation. After taming the bully, jock of the school among his lies and new image, Junior is now a star on the basketball team. Junior comes to find out that his basketball team plays his old school’s basketball team, whom Rowdy plays for and Junior used to play for. The teams play each other twice, once at each gym. When Junior’s team plays Wellpinit at the Wellpinit gym, all of the ans heckle him. They boo him and call him traitor, and Rowdy plays extremely rough against Junior because of how upset he is. However, when it is the other way around and the Wellpinit team comes to Reardon to play, the fans hail Junior. Junior begins to battle himself on who he is. While going to Reardon, Junior sees himself as white, while back on his reservation, he is Indian once again. Junior’s tribe had completely disowned him and saw him as a traitor, while the people in Reardon accepted him and made him happy.
Proceeding through two different lives, Junior has to overcome the racial barrier and discover which “tribe” he really belongs to. Junior discovers is at the end of the novel when he tells the reader that yes he is from the Spokane Indian tribe, but also the “American immigrant tribe…tribe of basketball players… tribe of teenage boys…tribe of poverty…tribe of beloved sons…” Junior looks at the bigger picture and realizes that the “part-time Indian” is not half with being white, but rather, a huge pie chart full of tribes he belongs to. A.
Junior: is the writer of the novel. He was born with too much fluid on his brain. He describes himself as having a head so big that little Indian skulls orbited around it. Arnold is a hydrocephalic, which means that he is at risk of brain damage and is susceptible to seizures. Arnold’s physical impairment becomes the source of struggle in his life on the reservation, since he gets picked on and bullied for being somewhat different than the others. He also has a stutter, a lisp, wears ugly, wears thick black plastic glasses and is skinny with huge hands and feet.
Junior struggled with being bullied by people in his reservation giving him grief for transferring to Reardon. Also he deals with his father being drunk most of the time when he is around. Arnold is a fighter he has hope and he hasn’t given up, even though there are some pretty major forces conspiring against him. It added a great deal of importance in the whole novel. If Junior did not transfer to Reardon he would not have accomplished so much in his fresh man year or would have done better in his life than expected.
There a many themes here such as identity, home, race, poverty, homes, dreams, plans and tradition. B. Rowdy: is Rowdy is Arnold’s best friend, arch nemesis, and everything in between. As his name indicates, he’s a pretty tough guy. Rowdy sticks up for Arnold, but he also pushes Arnold around from time to time. Rowdy got upset when Junior decided to transfer to Reardon. Even though Rowdy and Junior have had their differences they will always have each other’s back at the end of the day. Rowdy struggles with having alcoholic father and getting beat daily by him. C.
Penelope: is the beautiful, perfect blonde girl, she was all white on white on white, like the most perfect kind of vanilla dessert cake you’ve ever seen as described by Junior. She is nice, caring, compassionate and Junior’s friend. Junior is in love with her and cares deeply for. D. Gordy: is Reardon High School’s boy genius. He is responsible for introducing Arnold to the joyous world of books and knowledge. Gordy decided to help Junior out and give him tips on how to study at first. After talking for a while they both learned they had things and common and got along they became good friends.
E. Grandmother Spirit: powwow famous, and her greatest gift is tolerance. She is the main person that Junior goes to for advice. She is loving, caring and honest. F. Mr. P. : Junior’s Geometry math teacher. Mr. P is weird in general the way he looks. He tends to forget to come to class and teach. He is the white teacher at whom Arnold throws the geometry book. Mr. P convinces Arnold that he is a fighter and must leave the reservation. He is Junior’s motivator if it wasn’t for Mr. P he would still be on the reservation and feeling like he didn’t deserve to succeed in his life.