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.
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.
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.”
Dear Mr. Sherman Alexie,
I would like to thank you for writing this book. I think it really opened my eyes and showed how bad some reservations really are. I changed me because that native americans had it all meaning they had successful casinos but I now realized that some do but most don’t.
I think it is extremely wrong to stereotype people by how they look. Eve-ryone does it even if they don’t mean to. We do to everybody like muslims must terrorists. Mexicans must be illegal. Black people are criminals.
I really came to talk to you about why books should not be banned. I don’t books should be banned because they are kids they cannot be sheltered forever. They need to learn about bad things in the world so when they are older the new generation can fix these problems. Kids will learn about sex and racism when they are older so books like that identify with kids more anyways and if kids are like me then they will like books that identify with them and aren’t about things that they don’t care about. I also think that this book should not be banned because most kids nowadays talk like that anyway cursing out their best friends is what kids do to have fun sometimes.
In conclusion True Diary of A Part Time Indian teaches kids that relationships are not forever so make them count and you have to make a tough decision sometimes so it is up to you to make the decision. I also think that books that deal with topics like death and poverty and racism and bullying what do p
arents that try and ban books want us to read. I think that everyone should read this book because it gives everyone a great perspective on why american indians are in poverty
How are American-Indians depicted in the Disney movie Pocahontas? Throughout the years of movies American-Indians have been depicted as animals and monsters more than humans. Focusing on the Disney moving Pocahontas made in 1995, their depictions and thoughts on Indians are stereotypical in every way.
In this picture from the movie, Pocahontas’s father seems to have bear imprints on his chest and no shirt, Indians wear shirts and I have seen Indians with tattoos/paint but never bear claws.
In this picture an Indian has no shirt and is depicted as a savage, from reading books and watching documentaries Indians rarely do I see an Indian shirtless and Indian’s are very spiritual people, not savages.
In this picture it shows Indian’s surrounded by a spirit of a tiger, Indians are very spiritual and religious people but they are do not call or see spirits physically.
Another source for Pocahontas was the Official Disney Website .
My thoughts on the Indians depicted in the film are quite made more than understanding, I am very angry of how they depicted the Indians in the film with a monster look more than human, I’m also quite surprised of how the company Disney let the artists continue drawing the Indians of what they are not. If is even more insulting to see how Disney made another Pocahontas movie: Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World. There were not many complaints on how the Indians were depicted in this film, and from the complaints that were received to Disney most of them were Indians.
They ways the Indians are depicted in Pocahontas and a lot of these movies that are aimed at kids, are giving the kids a and young people the wrong message by saying and showing that Indians are either savages, monsters and/or crazy people that can see spirits. Others reason it is bothersome is the fact that none of the male Indians in the movie shirts on, and Indians wear clothes, I have only seen Indian shirtless in movies.
In the north county area of the metropolitan area of St. Louis, Mo poverty is a big issue because poverty doesn’t just effect St. Louis financially but it also effects in school districts in the area such as: Jennings, Hazelwood, Ferguson-Florissant, Normandy, and Riverview Gardens. According to, STL Today than 1.1 million children in Missouri and Illinois qualify for a free or reduced-price lunch during the school year.
In Riverview School districts there is an unfair balance between the elementary/middle schools and to the high school. The majority of the high school students can pay for their school lunches, the free breakfast and lunch is provided but very few of the kid actually use it. Compared to the younger students that can’t legally work to pay for lunch even if they wanted to. Riverview Gardens is a district with poverty so high that they had schools serve free lunches during the school year to every child.
Since there isn’t a lot of money coming into the district I believe that they should fund better lunches, which are cheap, frozen meals that come in a black plastic container that is put into a stove to be heated up. Also, the meals have to be delivered every day because some of the schools don’t have a proper kitchen or have a freezer to put the meals so there is one person that heats up all of the meals.
These school districts have addressed this problem head on, by providing breakfast and lunch during the summer because the only meals that the students may have are at school. During the summer, only about 14 percent of low-income students in Illinois, and 8 percent in Missouri have access to summer meal sites. According to the St. Louis Area Foodbank, even though schools are trying to help child hunger, the efforts aren’t really helping, which just comes to show that we need the leaders of our schools to work hard to feed hungry children.