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

Sherman Alexie

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Course Hero. "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian Study Guide." Course Hero. 12 Dec. 2016. Web. 21 Aug. 2018. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Absolutely-True-Diary-of-a-Part-Time-Indian/>.

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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 21, 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 21, 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 21, 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 18 : Don't Trust Your Computer | Summary

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Summary

In the school computer lab, Junior and Rowdy exchange e-mails. Junior laughs, missing Rowdy's juvenile humor in a world of repressed Reardan students. Gordy notices the e-mail, and the two talk about Rowdy. Junior says some Native Americans think if you become white, you'll be successful. Gordy counters not all white people are successful. Still trying to explain his dilemma, Junior says Native Americans at home call him an apple because he's red on the outside and white on the inside. Gordy says life is a struggle between individual and group identity.

Junior's confused, so Gordy explains "weird people" with no survival skills threatened the safety of ancient tribes. Now, he says, weird people are still cast out. Junior thinks he and Gordy, the school weirdos, are a tribe of two.

Analysis

In a way Junior has threatened the safety of his tribe by acting as an outsider. The costs go beyond his own status as an outcast and affect Rowdy and Mary. But Junior's only beginning to see the big picture. He's expanding his sense of what "tribes" he can belong to. He can be a Native American and still join other groups; his identity doesn't have to be narrow, but it can encompass many friends, many tastes. "Tribe" becomes a dominant motif in the latter part of the novel.

For a while Junior had the protection of Rowdy, a member of his tribe. Now he's on his own. Since "weird people still get banished," he'll have to forge his own identity his entire life—much like his sister is trying to do. In the last chapter, Junior's experience at the dance challenged his own presumptions that he didn't deserve decency or respect because he's Native American. Now, Gordy's challenging his presumption that people become successful because they're white. Junior's noticing the weaknesses in white people.

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