«That is not funny,» he said «it’s not supposed to be funny, » I said «I’ m transferring to Reardon now. I want you to come with me» «And are u going to this imaginary journey?» «It’is not imaginary. It’is real. And I am transferring now. I start school tomorrow at Reardon»
The theme in the novel «The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian» written by Sherman Alexis is affinity, race and dreams. Arnold made a big choice to attend Reardon High School and leave the reservation in an attempt to search for a better life to pursue an education, and hopefully fulfil his dream of becoming a cartoonist. This small part of the book truly expresses Arnold determination for a brighter future, even though he risks becoming an outcast from his tribe. The scene takes place in the first half of the book and highlights the begin of Juniors’ transition from being a part-time Indian in a small indigenous tribe to enter a wealthy American High school.
«Poverty doesn’t give you strength or teach you lessons about perseverance. No, poverty only teaches you how to be poor»
The setting takes place in the Spokane Indian Reservation which is where Juniors ‘tribe is located near Wellpoint, Washington D.C. However, the population faces issues such as alcoholism, abuse and despair which are often caused by poverty. Furthermore, poverty has defeated the tribe, and therefore most of them gave up on life. This is the harsh pitiful truth of the life at the rez. I think this quote very well describe and represent the setting that the story revolves around: a deeply depressed blue reservation where all hope is gone.
«Life is a constant struggle between being an individual and being a member of the community»
Arnold or Junior is torn between to fit in his new all-white-privileged school and holding on to his Indian heritage which is leading him to face a great amount of criticism from his own community. Not at least during the course of the year, his family suffered from many tragedies. I think this quote sums up Arnold transition from one envoriment to another different environment. These events caused Junior to question his hope for a better future and makes him reflect around the darker side of the Indian culture. Despite all these challenges, they help him see how much his family and friends love him, and that he learn to find his place as both Indian and American.
«All these kids have given up,» he said. «All of your friends. All the bullies. And their mothers and fathers have given up , too. and their grandparents gave up and their grandparents before them. And me and every teacher here. We’re all defeated’
Mr.P was crying
» But not you» Mr. P.said. «You can’t give up. You won’t give up. You threw that book in my face because somewhere inside you refuse to give up»
«If you stay on this rez, » Mr.P.said ‘ they’re going to kill you. I’m going to kill you. We’re all going to kill you. You can’t fight us forever»
«Son» Mr.P said » you’re going to find more and more hope the father and father you walk away from this sad, sad, sad reservation.
Arnold realises that hope only exists outside of the reservation and in order for him to escape the cycles of poverty and abuse on the reservation he has to leave his home to attend a place where there is not a lack of opportunity and poor education. Hence, go to the outside world and attend Reardon High School.