The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian | Study Guide

Sherman Alexie

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Course Hero. (2016, December 12). The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved August 20, 2018, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Absolutely-True-Diary-of-a-Part-Time-Indian/

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Course Hero. "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian Study Guide." December 12, 2016. Accessed August 20, 2018. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Absolutely-True-Diary-of-a-Part-Time-Indian/.

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Course Hero, "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian Study Guide," December 12, 2016, accessed August 20, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Absolutely-True-Diary-of-a-Part-Time-Indian/.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian | Chapter 16 : Rowdy Gives Me Advice about Love | Summary

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Summary

Junior watches Penelope play volleyball. He marvels at both her beauty and how white she is—blonde and pale in her white uniform.

He e-mails Rowdy to tell him he's in love with a white girl. Rowdy writes back that he's sick of Native Americans "who treat white women like bowling trophies." Frustrated, Junior asks Gordy for advice on getting a white girl to love him. Gordy does research and discovers the case of a missing white girl in Mexico who received lots of media coverage. Gordy learns that over 200 Mexican girls also went missing in the same place and no one paid attention. Junior's love for a beautiful white girl, Gordy says, means he's "a racist asshole like everybody else." Junior realizes his new friend is just as tough as his old one.

Analysis

There are moments when Junior doesn't care about the colonization or fetishizing aspects of his relationship with a white woman. He's willing to be "her chocolate topping"—repeating food metaphors often used to describe people of color as appetizing or edible.

Beautiful white women are a valuable status symbol; to Rowdy, they're another sign Junior is trying to be white. Per Rowdy's response, Junior isn't the first man in the Native American community to try to climb a few rungs on the social ladder by dating a white woman. As Gordy points out, Junior has internalized racism, even as he experiences it.

Gordy's research references deeper, more troubling trends. The media's failure to cover the stories of missing Mexican women points to the neglected members of Junior's own reservation. The idea of white girls being "damsels in distress" points to white men protecting the purity of their race at the expense of men of color, although Gordy doesn't mention this. Later, the security guards, terrified of the "wild Indians" at Junior's basketball games, will remind the audience of the stereotype of savage, animalistic Native American men.

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