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. 18 Sep. 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 September 18, 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 September 18, 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 September 18, 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 21 : And a Partridge in a Pear Tree | Summary

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Summary

As Christmas approaches, Junior's family doesn't have much money for presents. The stress causes Dad to take the money they do have and get drunk, as he's done before around the holidays.

Dad returns after New Year's Day. He apologizes to Junior, who says it's OK, even though it isn't. Junior realizes he's protecting the man who keeps breaking his heart. Dad tells Junior he has something for him in his boot—five dollars. Junior considers how badly Dad must have wanted to spend that money on alcohol. He thanks Dad and wishes him a Merry Christmas.

Analysis

Junior's relationship with his father is pivotal to his life. His father is his first male role model, and he's failed Junior in many ways. Though Junior has no illusions about the failures, he can see that Dad, like Junior himself, is trying to succeed at a difficult task.

This chapter also gives the reader insight into how deeply alcohol affects Junior's home life. Junior's family is more grounded and solid than many families on the reservation—his parents live together, give him money, and don't abuse him. But they still struggle with their own demons. In his father Junior sees a possible future for himself if he doesn't leave the reservation. His father's boot smells like "fear and failure"—a strong metaphor that uses the sense of smell to linger with the reader.

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