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 September 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 September 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 September 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 9 : Grandmother Gives Me Some Advice | Summary

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Summary

At home that night, Junior anticipates Roger is plotting revenge, like a Native American would. He realizes how much his own safety depended on Rowdy before. Junior goes to his grandmother for advice. She tells Junior that Roger was only testing his boundaries. Since Junior challenged the "alpha dog," Grandmother says, he's earned the respect of his classmates. Junior doesn't believe her. He then adds a detailed cartoon of his grandmother. She wears an old housedress, basketball sneakers, and her grandfather's belt.

The next day Junior's dad doesn't have enough gas to drive him to school. So he gets a ride on the bike of his dad's best friend Eugene, who is a "funny and kind drunk." He's like an uncle to Junior, but Junior senses he's sad. At Reardan Eugene commends Junior for his bravery. Roger sees Junior and admires Eugene's bike. Junior's surprised at Roger's kindness after their altercation. He doesn't get the same kindness from Penelope, who sniffs at him and mocks his two names again.

Analysis

For the first time Junior's building his own sense of self-worth, apart from Rowdy. Both Grandmother and Eugene encourage him at just the moments when he needs it. Grandmother knows he's trying to establish his place in the pecking order, too. She's familiar with the rules of masculinity, but only as an outside observer (to her, men seem like "packs of wild dogs"). Grandmother's own sense of humor and practicality is evident in her drawing, with her tongue-in-cheek selling of "Highly Sacred Aboriginal Transportation Charms" (beaded keychains) to take advantage of white buyers' belief that Native American crafts are sacred—and her color-coded bandannas, an indication of her personality.

Junior's interactions with Grandmother and Eugene show the strong sense of community he's experienced on the reservation over the years. This knowledge of his neighbors makes it even more devastating when most of the reservation turns on him. Eugene's death is foreshadowed with the reference to his drinking and the more oblique reference to his sadness. To be Native American, it seems, means to carry around a certain kind of sadness and sorrow.

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