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The Power of Community

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Appreciating the Little Things in a Hard Life    


Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing.
-Camille Pissarro 

Inspiring. That is the best word I have to describe The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. The book is a joy to read but also miserable and strenuous.  I enjoyed reading about the life of a kid so opposite of me. Alexie put me in the shoes of a poor kid on an Indian reservation. I found myself engaged in the main character. Arnold grew up poor, with a drunk as a father, and faced a TON of adversity, but what inspired me most was his ability to always look on the bright side of things, and always be thankful for what he has, no matter how big or small, in the same way it made me appreciate the little things in life. 

Everyone has faced adversity in their life before, it’s just a matter of what you do once you have met it. In the book The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian the main character Arnold, faces a good amount of challenges and adversity, and manages to overcome all of it. When Arnold transferred schools, from a school in the reservation that he had been going to his whole life, to a school a ways away, with a mainly white popularity, his greatest challenge wasn’t even fitting into his new school, it was having to face his best friend Rowdy. After Arnold told Rowdy he was transferring to Reardan at the playground, Rowdy did not believe him at first, he started to get angry at Arnold, and thought that Arnold was joking. Arnold kept insisting that he wasn’t joking, and ultimately it did not end up well:  

“I’m transferring to Reardan.”
Rowdy’s eyes narrowed. His eyes always narrowed right before he beat the crap out of someone. I started shaking.
“That’s not funny,” he said.”

Rowdy and Arnold had been best friends forever, but Rowdy has had a temper issue forever and Arnold would always just roll with it. This situation turns really bad really quickly, and they both end up going their separate ways for a while. Rowdy ends up believing that he and Arnold can never be friends eSagainess just because Arnold goes to a different school than he does. “Shoot, I figure that eSmy fellow tribal members are going to torture me.” This is when Junior decided he was gonna move schools, and realizes that life might not be as easy as he thought it would be when transferring to Reardan. “But I had to stand eventually, and when I did, I knew that my best friend had become my worst enemy.”

Adaptation is never easy, and nobody says it will be, it is just something that everyone has to go through. In the early stages of the book The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Junior has to adapt to a completely new environment at a brand new school, with brand new people, and a brand new community. Junior has had so many challenges in his life, whether it is being made fun of, “So, weak and poor and scared, I let them call me names while I tried to figure out what to do,” trying to fit in, or just challenges at home with money or his family “Yeah, Dad is a drunk and Mom is an ex-drunk.” But this challenge may be greater than a lot of them. This was shown when Junior first encountered Roger who introduced himself by directing a racist comment at him: "I felt like Roger had kicked me in the face. That was the most racist thing I’d ever heard in my life.”

Arnold had a lot of trouble adapting to and overcoming this situation because he had never experienced racism at such a high level. Although he has had to adapt to a lot of difficult situations in his life, he has got through most of them at the end of the day. This could be the first ongoing situation that Junior cannot overcome. It also set the tone for his new experience at school. Maybe his peers might believe they can pick on him or make fun of him easily now seeing Roger do it, as shown here. “Roger and his friends were laughing like crazy.” Junior has a very tough life, but he always makes the best out of what he has, and appreciates everything greatly. It made me realize that I should shoot to be similar to Junior in that way.

    The book The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, made me really think about how I should appreciate everything I have more than I do right now. This story also really inspired me to take risks, and always just go with your gut. Reading The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian made me realize that maybe I should be more appreciative for what I have, like how Junior always is with everything. When Christmas rolled around, Junior ended up getting nothing from his parents because his dad had been out drunk for a while, his dad gave him five bucks and Junior showed that he was thankful for it. 

    I read The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian just because it was assigned for me to read in English, and to be honest, I did not enjoy it at first. I didn’t think that Junior and I had a lot in common, it was not very fun to read and it just wasn’t relatable. As I kept reading, I started to enjoy it much more. It started to get much more interesting with Junior in the new environment, and the fact that he made new friends and started playing basketball. The note taking and theme finding did not make for very much fun though, but I still managed to really enjoy reading the book. Create your own text here: From reading The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian I learned to appreciate everything that I have, and never take anything for granted. This book made me feel really sad occasionally and also happy for Junior at times. I could not relate to Junior all that much throughout the book, but I could relate to his love and passion for basketball. 

    The book made me want to read more books of a similar genre, as I did very much enjoy the type of writing. I had lots of fun reading this book and felt many different emotions, but in the end I realized that maybe I should appreciate the little things more, and be grateful for everything that I have.When I first encountered this book, I may have just told people that it isn’t all that intriguing, but a few weeks ago, you might have heard me telling my classmates that I am actually quite interested in it! When you encounter something that you think you may not be interested in, take a chance! You might just end up enjoying it! 

    Reading The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian really put things into perspective for me, and made me realize that I should appreciate all of the little things in life, and everything that I have. 


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JP Ward

Good job! I never thought about how Junior had to adapt before and I thought your take on it was very interesting.

Gabe Fonte

Good work Will! I like how meaningful your conclusion is as well as all of you quotes thought your essay. Good job!


Great work Will! I liked how you stared with one word and used all capitals to get your point across with the word ton in the intro. Great work


Good work Will. I like how your two themes were unique and I never would have thought of theme if it wasn’t for your essay. I liked your writing style in the beginning paragraph and how emphasized different words it reminded me a little bit how how Sherman Alexie wrote this book

Lyle Waldeck

Great essay Will! Your themes were very different from other ones that I’ve heard and you did a good job of proving how those themes were important to the book. Great job!

Spencer Harnden

Nice job Will! You had different themes than other people, but they worked really well in this essay. I also liked your conclusion! Overall really nice essay.

The Fenn Voice

Great essay. You capture the experience of reading, studying and analyzing this book with a strong and confident narrative voice. Your analysis paragraphs are pretty damn perfect, and your reflection is thoughtful, humble and real. Think about redoing your open using shorter sentences. Other than that, this is one to be proud of writing.

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