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Course Hero. "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian Study Guide." Course Hero. 12 Dec. 2016. Web. 15 Nov. 2018. <>.

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Course Hero. (2016, December 12). The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved November 15, 2018, from

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(Course Hero, 2016)



Course Hero. "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian Study Guide." December 12, 2016. Accessed November 15, 2018.


Course Hero, "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian Study Guide," December 12, 2016, accessed November 15, 2018,

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian | Discussion Questions 11 - 20


How and why does The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian explore sexuality?

Sexuality is an important part of growing up, and Junior's interactions with girls frame his experience at school and home. As the book opens, he's single and an expert masturbator who sees women as more curves and angles than people. His crushes on unreachable girls like Dawn match the "loser" fate he sees for himself—forever bullied and in love with women who don't love him back. When he develops a friendship with Penelope, he begins to mature. He's aware of the troubling aspects of falling in love with a white girl. Penelope is interested in his "otherness," and Junior sees a beautiful white woman as a way to move up in the social hierarchy. This relationship proves to him that sexuality can never be independent from race, class, or status. All aspects of his life are connected.

What does the narrative imply about Rowdy's future in Chapter 30 of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian?

Junior isn't sure Rowdy is going to be OK. He knows Rowdy's stuck in a cycle of abuse and used to acting out of anger. But Rowdy's changed during the year, too. He's been shaped by grief, and he's grown stronger through competition. When Junior first asks Rowdy to go to Reardan with him, Rowdy becomes furious at the suggestion. When Junior asks again at the end of the book, Rowdy doesn't answer either way. Instead, he tells Junior he has a new appreciation for Junior's transition to Reardan; Rowdy's been studying old Native American tribes and taking an interest in his past. This research implies Rowdy may be taking an interest in his future as well.

What does Reardan's Indian mascot in The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian imply about the high school experience Junior will have there?

The Reardan mascot is a cartoon version of a Native American, the type Junior draws half-mockingly, half-respectfully in his own cartoons. Junior knows the stereotype of a brave in a feather headdress is the only experience with Native Americans most of his Reardan classmates have, despite their proximity to the reservation. Because of their limited exposure, the Reardan kids will greet Junior with a mixture of curiosity and fear. They're afraid of the "savage" Native American, and they don't have much respect for his intelligence. Roger tells him a racist joke about Native Americans, and his teacher Mr. Dodge mocks the reservation school. Junior will have to prove himself against racism and ignorance. He'll need to show he's an individual, but an individual who is proud of his ethnicity and culture.

What is the significance of nature and animals in The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian?

Raised around nature, Junior finds the natural world awe inspiring. He invites the reader to appreciate the natural beauty of the reservation's trees and lakes and its rare volcano by commanding, "Take a look." He acknowledges stereotypes about Native American communion with nature and shares how his people do tell stories to help them understand the natural world by stating, "We're Indians, and we like to make up shit about lakes." The final chapter shows nature is older and more powerful than humans. Junior sometimes uses animal illustrations to exaggerate a point. He draws white hope as a unicorn and himself as a wary outsider buried in an anthill. One of his deepest relationships was with an animal, his loyal dog Oscar; "A better person than any human I have ever known." Junior sees animals as both loyal and kind (in Oscar's case) and aggressive caricatures (when Roger calls him an animal after Junior punched him).

How does Junior's casual, conversational voice throughout The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian contribute to the novel?

Junior's voice instantly pairs with the honesty of his cartoons. It also strips the narrative of any pretense. Revelations about poverty and racism delivered in Junior's voice become all the more vivid and devastating. The voice is his claim to authenticity and represents the "Absolutely True" and "Diary" portions of the title. Junior's revealing his thoughts as they come to him, not dressing them up. His tone and word choice depict a 14-year-old uncertain of himself in academic situations, but on sure footing in conversations with his friends and family. Junior's phrasing becomes more poetic and formal, using metaphors when he's faced with stress or turning points in his life. The geometry book that had been around so long his mother used it hits him "with the force of a nuclear bomb"; when he rises above Rowdy in their second basketball face-off, he's rising on his family's hopes.

In The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian how do Junior's asides to the reader affect the reader's experience of the book?

Junior speaks as if he's confiding in the reader. The reading experience becomes more intimate in the presence of rhetorical questions that don't really need to be answered or by second person use of "you." By imagining an audience for his story, Junior's given his narrative purpose and direction. Junior frequently anticipates what the reader might be thinking about him. He thinks the reader will notice his self-pity when he describes poverty or imagine he's "completely fallen in love with white people" after a few months at Reardan. He even invites the reader into his experience. "Have you ever watched a beautiful woman play volleyball?" Also, Junior wants to be heard, and as an artist he knows his work will be seen by an audience of strangers if he's successful. He draws to "talk to the world," but he writes to talk to the world, too.

What do The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian's drawings and captions reveal that the story does not, and how do the two mediums work together?

The captions reveal intimate, quirky details about the characters. By showing clothing, accessories, and physical appearance, the art reveals the rich personalities of the supporting cast members in Junior's life, like his parents and teachers. Junior's drawings of himself show transformation and state of mind in instantly understandable ways. He can draw himself small and lost, in movement as a basketball player, or dressed in stereotypical Native American garb like a headdress and loincloth. The drawings reveal the many faces of Junior, working with the text to show his crises of identity. The more elaborate, five-paneled cartoons work alongside the text to illuminate problems Junior doesn't have time to describe in the story. The cartoon images help reinforce all that Junior expresses in writing but in a more direct manner. An image can make a more immediate impact since the viewer takes it in all at once, unlike the messages in the text that are revealed in succession as the reader encounters them. When coupled together, the images and text paint a striking picture of Junior's observant and determined mindset.

How does Junior's statement that "Reservations were meant to be prisons" reflect on his experience of home in The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian?

The reservation isn't a happy place to live; in fact, Junior geographically locates "important" and "happy" millions of miles away. But he says Native Americans have forgotten that reservations were meant to be prisons and have made homes there. People hardly ever leave, and he and his sister are the first in the Spokane tribe to do so. Economic circumstances have imprisoned the tribe, not law enforcement. Although the effect is often the same (Native Americans living unhappily on the reservation) Junior knows he is capable of leaving, and if he can do it, others can, too. He also knows many stay on the reservation out of family loyalty. Community is significant, even though a good number fall into destructive patterns like drinking.

In what ways is The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian's Rowdy an antagonist, and how does his character subvert or lessen that role?

Rowdy opposes Junior's departure more loudly than anyone else, becoming Junior's "worst enemy." He's openly aggressive toward Junior, hitting him on the head in their first high school basketball game. He's the foe Junior has to vanquish during the second game they play together. And he blames Junior for killing his sister. But Rowdy is never truly the enemy in Junior's eyes, even when Junior vows to defeat him in basketball. "You have to love somebody that much to also hate them that much," Junior says of Rowdy, at the peak of their conflict. Just like laughter and tears for Native Americans, love and hate work together, not in opposition. Rowdy's affected by poverty, rage, and his own prejudices. Junior, aware that in a way he truly has wronged Rowdy, knows he himself is the enemy, too. The novel always sees Rowdy's antagonism as both necessary and surmountable. Junior wants badly for the two to reconcile, but he doesn't want to crush Rowdy's spirit. Rowdy represents the reservation, which for all its problems, is home. And the competition makes the friendship stronger in the end.

In The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian how does Junior achieve his main goals, and what do these strategies reveal about his personality?

Junior has several goals that evolve over the course of the year. First, his goal is to get off the reservation. Then, it's to succeed academically and athletically at Reardan. He also wants to prove to Reardan students Native Americans can be smart, capable, and motivated. His ongoing goal to regain Rowdy's friendship is temporarily interrupted during their basketball games when Junior focuses on defeating Rowdy on the court. Junior achieves all of his major goals, though not without consequences. He hasn't gotten off the reservation permanently, but he ends his first year at Reardan with a strong report card. After a victory that becomes a defeat, Junior wins Rowdy's friendship back. Whether he's dismantled his classmates' stereotypes about Native Americans is less clear, but he has won friendships, which is a step in the right direction. It's revealing of Junior's personality that he does not back down in the face of seemingly impossible odds. He may get frustrated at times, but his diary enables him to reflect on the given situation. Junior is an example of resiliency at work. Despite bad things happening, he continues to move forward to learn from those events and become a stronger person in the process.

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