Letter to Sherman Alexie by Matthew

Dear Sherman Alexie,

I recently read your book in my English class.  It was a real interesting book to read and changed my perspective on the Indian culture and how they live.  I, personally, don’t think that your book should be banned, because all teenagers should read this book to see how Indians actually live and so people don’t look at movies that make them look differently.  When books are band like this people don’t read them as much and don’t get to see what their culture is rally like and make assumptions.

When I first heard that I was reading A True Diary of a Part Time Indian I didn’t think that it would change how I think of Indians.  But I was pleasantly surprised.  My perspective has changed since I read this book. I used to think that on Indian reservations all Indians lived in the little tee pee houses.  I also thought that all Indians wore head dresses.  When reading this book I learned that you can’t make an assumption about something or someone before for you go and find out information.  As well as reading your book I also listened to it. I really liked how when you were reading the book you put lots of emotion into the book.

Your book had a big impact on me and how I look at the Indian community.  I now think of Indians as hard workers with big hearts. The hard workers comes from all the hard work they do to survive. The big hearts comes from when someone dies the whole community comes together to support each other. I have personally driven through a reservation in Arizona and I remember seeing a casino.  I had always wanted to figure out why there was a casino on an Indian reservation.  After reading your book I found out why casinos are so important to their culture to make money and survive.

I have a couple of question for you, was it harder to write your book considering you lived some of these things or was it easier.  What are the big noticeable differences that you noticed life on the rez and life off the rez. How was school different at beyond the rez beside the learning aspect?

My favorite part about reading your book is how you put great detail in the book. Most authors would have left out some of the deep detail you put into the book.  Having the extra detail helped me picture what it would be like if I were in your shoes.  Your book also helped me and probably others understand what it is like to grow up on a reservation and that there are several similar things between on a rez and off a rez.

Sincerely,

Matthew

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Dear Sherman Alexie by Tyler

Dear Mr. Sherman Alexie,

Young kids seem to go through life without a care in the world. I didn’t overthink anything as a child. When my grandmother passed away, I didn’t understand. I didn’t understand why my mom was not herself. As an 8th grader reflecting on these past few years, things began to make more sense as I got older. I started to feel the pain I didn’t understand a few years back. In your novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian Junior was not a young kid who didn’t care about what people thought of him. Towards the beginning of the book, I noticed that judgement was affecting him in a negative way. I saw a shift in Junior’s character from the beginning to the end of the book. The shift was when he realized what mattered and what didn’t. What mattered to him was Rowdy and his family. There were deaths and moments where Junior felt weak but it all shaped who he became at the end of the book.  Junior shaping into the strong guy he became at the end of the book showed me that you don’t have to be a young kid to not care what people think about you.

All throughout the book, Junior seemed to have been dealing with some sort of loss whether it was his best friend or his grandma. Those parts of the novel hit me hard because it shows me how quick somebody can be gone. Whenever someone would die, he would be surprised. It’s hard to live your life expecting the unexpected but your book showed that sometimes it’s all we can do to prevent getting hurt later down the road.  

One question in your novel, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian gave me the opportunity to be honest with myself. “Do you know the worst things about being poor?” Instantly when I read that question I thought that being poor was just not having money. Being poor is way more than just not having enough money for a meal. Junior had missed some day of school because either his dad was too drunk to take him, or he didn’t have enough money to go on the school trips that the rest of the class was attending.  Before reading the novel, something that I would’ve considered a “bad day” would’ve been an amazing day for Junior. I was put in a position of taking a minute to realize all there is to be thankful for. Not only do I know now all I have to be grateful for, but I have an understanding of poverty and how it truly does affect lives.

Your novel taught me so many lessons I can carry out through my life. The most important thing I took from your novel was that growing up shouldn’t affect the way I judge myself. Not caring about what anyone thinks about me shouldn’t just be something that happens as a “young kid”. Junior realized that all he needed was a true friend and his family. Once he began to accept himself as who he is, others did also and that is truly inspiring.

Sincerely,

Tyler H.

 

“No Pain No Gain” by Elijah

The Absolutely True Dairy of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie is about a boy named Junior who struggles with bullying and racism, etc.  Not to mention he’s has a couple disorders which makes it even harder’s for him in life.  Junior is an Indiana that lives on a Rez. with alcoholic and un stable people, but even though he has troubles in his life he still know how to have a laugh with his best friend Rowdy.

Question: How does the racism and stereotypes in the book effect Junior, do you think the racism made Junior stronger in the end.

I believe the racism and stereotypes in the book did make Junior stronger in the end.

In the in beginning of the book Junior is at the Rez. with his alcoholic family and his physically abused best friend, and basically it talks about how he has made it in the past 14 or so years, being bullied and dealing with the rez.  Later on in the book he got an opportunity to go to a different school and get a chance to have hope in the world. When I say hope I mean that he got a chance to get away from the alcohol and unstableness and lack of hope in his life and try to make it in the world and not be like his family that has zero to no money.  When he gets to his new school everything changes and you would think that it’s a positive change but it wasn’t and.  Reardan the racism, bullying, insecurity doubles and Junior gets stuck.

Racism- “Is the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.”  True Diary is a perfect example of racism. For example on page 63 it talks there’s a picture of Junior and what’s supposed to be the K.K.K. mocking Junior: 

 

Stereotypes- I a widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing. True Diary is also a perfect example of stereotypes that Junior goes through.  For example on page 56 it states: “Those white kids couldn’t believe their eyes. They stared at me like I was Bigfoot or a UFO. What was I doing at Reardan, whose mascot was an Indian, thereby making me the only other Indian in town?” Right below that is a picture of an Indian that’s bright red and has feathers on its head dress.

The next page is a picture of Junior and what supposed to be a white person the goes to his school and the stereotype his that all white people have money and expensive things.

In conclusion having to deal with racism
and stereotypes just like Junior did True Diary not only will make you stronger but will help other and yourself understand how much these thing affect us.  Me, as being an African American myself I connected fully to what Junior was going threw and I had complete empathy and sympathy for him. Personally I think everyone should go through a rough time in there life, no matter if its racism a loss, etc. Because without pain there’s no gain.

The True Dairy of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Rowdy and Junior – A Vital Friendship by Finale

Rowdy is Junior’s best friend. They have been best friends since they were babies.  Rowdy is

“having one of the worst summers of his life.”

His father abuses him and his mother. Rowdy’s father is

“drinking hard and throwing punches.”

Rowdy uses Junior’s house as a place to escape from his father. Rowdy does not know how to process emotions because there is only anger in the household, but he does not fit there because he feels more than his parents do. Rowdy hides behind a wall of “toughness”. Rowdy is only kind to Junior and Junior is the only one who knows how to make Rowdy laugh.

At the beginning of the book, Rowdy’s friendship with Junior is his only normal, healthy relationship. Junior is the only person he can share his dreams with. Rowdy doesn’t have much hope. He has given up on his dreams. Junior is the only good thing in Rowdy’s life. At the beginning of the book Junior

“found Rowdy sitting in his usual place on the playground. He was alone, of course. Everybody was scared of him.”

Junior thinks that

“Rowdy might be the most important person in my life”.

When Junior leaves Rowdy becomes angry at him because he left the Rez. to go to an all-white school. Rowdy feels like Junior has deserted him.                                          

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When Junior tells Rowdy about moving to a new school, Rowdy gets mad at him and Junior starts to cry.

“I started crying. That wasn’t surprising at all, but Rowdy started crying too, and he hated that. He wiped his eyes, stared at his wet hand, and screamed. I’m sure that everybody on the rez heard that scream. It was the worst thing I’d ever heard. It was pain, pure pain.”

He breaks communication with Junior, but he wishes that he hadn’t left.

“Rowdy may have flipped me off, but he hadn’t torn up my cartoon. As much as he hated me he probably should have ripped it to pieces.”

“But Rowdy still respected my cartoons. And so maybe he still respected me a little bit.”

At the end of the book, Rowdy finally accepts that Junior is going to leave the reservation and that’s OK. He feels that Junior will lead a better life and he wants that life for Junior.

“I always knew you were going to leave. I always knew you were going to leave us behind and travel the world. I had this dream about you a few months ago. You were standing on the Great Wall of China. You looked happy. And I was happy for you.”

Junior talks about the reconciliation between him and Rowdy, and the picture his words paint have an almost magical feel. You can tell that they will always be friends, no matter where they are.

“Rowdy and I played one-on-one for hours. We played until the streetlight lit up the court. We played until the bats swooped down at our heads. We played until the moon was huge and golden and perfect in the dark sky. We didn’t keep score.”