The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian Response: Junior’s Biggest Conflict

In Sherman Alexie’s novel, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Junior’s cultural identity and race have proven themselves to be the primary struggles in his life so far. Between Reardan High and the reservation, Junior’s identity has taken two separate facades. He has grown up accustomed to life on the reservation with their rules and traditions before he is abruptly thrust into the world of Reardan, which is “the opposite of the rez [,] the opposite of [his] family [and] the opposite of [him]” (56). Junior is suddenly exposed to a whole new set of obstacles regarding race both at home and school; the reservation accuses him of betrayal, but Reardan sees him as “the dorky Indian guy” (110). These conflicts result in abuse from neighbors, classmates, and teachers, therefore presenting Junior with a myriad of issues and insecurities he wouldn’t have faced otherwise. While on the reservation, Junior lives in fear of being seen as white, while at Reardan he tries to seem as white as possible. The majority of Junior’s problems arise when a piece of his Reardan self is revealed at the reservation or vice versa. In summation, if Junior’s environments were not so conflicting, he would not have to face many of the issues he is currently forced to face; the ultimate conflict in his life is the juxtaposition of his majority white school and home on the reservation.

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