The Absolute Part Time Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

May 19, 2011
By Brady12 BRONZE, Columbus, Montana
Brady12 BRONZE, Columbus, Montana
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

In the book The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian written by Sherman Alexie there were many social justice themes. The book was about Indians living on a reservation and white people living in Reardan which is twenty-two miles from the reservation. The Indian reservation the stereotype is everyone drinks. In the “white”community they are all known to be hicks. In the black community they are known to be athletic. But In The Absolutely True Diary of a Part time Indian the case is between “rich, white kids” and “poor, alcoholic Indian people. Arnold Spirit or “Junior” is the main character of the book. Arnold has brain damage so he is known to get teased around the whole reservation. His family is poor, and none of them have ever gone anywhere with themselves besides the reservation. So one day Arnold is inspired by his teacher, Mr. P to get off the reservation and do something with his life.

Junior decides that he wants to go to Rearden, which is hated by all people on the reservation because they are known to have the “rich, white farm hick town, filled with farmers and rednecks and racist cops who stop every Indian that drives through town.” as said on page 46. The other thing about Reardan is that they are known for the smartest and most athletic kids. The kids in Rearden think that the reservation is just where the drunk poor Indians live. Hatred is between both the schools, and that is why Junior is known as a traitor for going there. But they are calling him a traitor for many reasons not just one, some of the students could be jealous of him getting to go to Rearden instead of living on the “poor” Indian reservation. When Junior is playing basketball the Reservation shows no respect to him and are booing him the whole time. One of the people in the crowd even threw a coin and hit him right in the forehead to make him have to get stitches.

We see racist comments about Indians in our everyday lives.“ Of course they had a big party! Of course they were drunk! They are Indians!” As said on page 205. Racist comments are filled throughout this book. The whites make racist comments about Indians, and Indians make comments about white people. In this specific quote Junior's sister dies because she and her husband were passed out drunk on the bed when the trailer house caught fire and burned them too. They couldn't do anything because they were so drunk. Junior is even the one that says this racist quote about his sister, it isn't just white folks. Scenario after scenario happens like this Junior's grandmother dies because she was hit by a drunk driver, Juniors dads best friend died because him and another Indian were fighting over the last drink of whiskey. And after each of these accidents another racist comment comes about.

Junior is hurt and doesn't understand why his grandmother died. “ Plenty of drunken Indians have killed other drunken Indians. But my grandmother had never drunk alcohol in her life. Not one drop. That's the rarest kind of Indian in the world.” As said on page 158. He has dealt with alcohol and the tragedies that go with it all through his life. More than three close members in his life have died because of alcohol. I think part of the reason Junior moved to Rearden was to get rid of the tragedies of alcohol. But the problem is they are still in his life. His grandmother was Junior said to be "the kindest Indian ever" and he lost her because of alcoholism. Even though Junior was known as being a traitor the comments stopped the day of her funeral because that is how much his grandmother meant to that reservation. Junior's old best friend was at the funereal, who showed the most hatred for him leaving. That was one of the toughest things he has ever gone through I believe. Being at Rearden makes him feel like he is not caught up in all the worlds problems when really there is problems on the white side too.

Racism and stereotypes are all part of social justice. Throughout this book there were many scenarios of this. On one part of the town with all the whites they made comments about Indian people and on the other side there were Indians who made comments about white people. We see social justice not only in this book, but in the world today. These problems I would say are the most common I have ever heard of as far as Indians and white people go. Social justice is everywhere.

Similar Articles


This article has 0 comments.


MacMillan Books

Aspiring Writer? Take Our Online Course!