Part-Time Indian Conflict Paragraph

In Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Junior’s most prominent issue is his ethnicity because it dictates how he is perceived by others and by himself. Because he is a Native American, everyone around him expects him to be poor and helpless, but also a “warrior [who] isn’t afraid of confrontation” (91). He is supposed to a defeatist future drunkard like everyone else. These racial expectations impel Junior to want to defy borders and rules that were placed upon him before he was even born. They push him to break a poverty cycle and a barrier that segregates the reservation from the rest of the world. He seeks hope and goes to “racist Reardan” but his race only causes him more problems there (56). At least in the reservation, he is seen as “just a poor-ass reservation kid living with his poor-ass family on the poor-ass Spokane Indian Reservation” (7). He is poor like everyone else, but that is part of his race. They “feel that [they] somehow deserve to be poor. […] [They are] Indian. And because [they’re] Indian [they] start believing that [they’re] destined to be poor. It’s an ugly circle and there’s nothing [they] can do about it “(13). When he starts going to Reardan however, he gets labeled as a traitor by the people at the reservation and a “Bigfoot or a UFO” at Reardan (56). “[He] Always feels like a stranger. He [is] half Indian in one place and half white in the other” (118). Being like one of the races cause each community to discourage Junior from breaking the barbaric loop that somehow has become the norm. The rules that the American government set long ago are never challenged but now Junior is receiving hate for flouting these rules. In conclusion, Junior wants to be more than what people label him as or expect him to be just because of his ethnicity.


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