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

Sherman Alexie

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The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian | Chapter Summaries

See Chapter Summaries Chart

Timeline of Events

  • Early fall

    Junior begins high school at Wellpinit.

    Chapter 4
  • Early fall

    Junior decides to transfer to Reardan High School.

    Chapter 6
  • Early fall

    Junior survives his first day at Reardan.

    Chapter 8
  • Mid-fall

    Mary marries and leaves home.

    Chapter 12
  • Early winter

    Junior goes to the school dance.

    Chapter 17
  • Mid-winter

    Junior joins varsity basketball team and plays Wellpinit.

    Chapter 20
  • Mid-winter

    Grandmother dies.

    Chapter 22
  • Late winter

    Eugene dies.

    Chapter 24
  • Spring

    Junior defeats Rowdy in basketball in the Wellpinit rematch.

    Chapter 25
  • Spring

    Mary dies.

    Chapter 27
  • Summer

    Rowdy and Junior reconcile.

    Chapter 30

Chapter Summaries Chart

Chapter Summary
Chapter 1 Junior, a Spokane Indian teenager in Wellpinit, Washington, introduces himself by telling his birth story of having wate... Read More
Chapter 2 Junior knows cartoons don't bring the food or money his family needs. Hunger, he says, isn't the worst thing about being... Read More
Chapter 3 Junior's friend Rowdy talks him out of his depression after Oscar's death. Rowdy is tough, with a heart "as strong and m... Read More
Chapter 4 It's Junior's first day of high school, and he's excited about his first geometry class. He loves the right angles of bu... Read More
Chapter 5 After hitting Mr. P with the textbook, Junior has been suspended. His parents and grandmother are disappointed, which cr... Read More
Chapter 6 Junior sits on the porch and thinks after Mr. P's visit. When his parents come home, he asks them who has the most hope.... Read More
Chapter 7 Junior tells Rowdy about his plans to transfer to Reardan. Rowdy becomes angry, and when Junior invites him to come alon... Read More
Chapter 8 Junior's dad drives him to his first day at Reardan. Junior's terrified, but his dad admires his courage and reminds him... Read More
Chapter 9 At home that night, Junior anticipates Roger is plotting revenge, like a Native American would. He realizes how much his... Read More
Chapter 10 Junior reflects on his first crush at 12—a Native American girl named Dawn. She was a tall, gifted, powwow dancer with l... Read More
Chapter 11 On Halloween Junior doesn't go to school in costume. He jokes he's dressed as a homeless man in his usual clothes. Penel... Read More
Chapter 12 At school Junior walks through the halls feeling invisible. When he leaves the reservation he feels less than Native Ame... Read More
Chapter 13 Mary sends Junior a long e-mail, where she shares she's looking for a restaurant job. Some of the Montana reservations a... Read More
Chapter 14 Junior's family has a Thanksgiving feast with turkey. Junior acknowledges it's strange for Native Americans to celebrate... Read More
Chapter 15 Back at school, Junior takes a bathroom break and hears someone vomiting violently in the girls' bathroom. He asks if th... Read More
Chapter 16 Junior watches Penelope play volleyball. He marvels at both her beauty and how white she is—blonde and pale in her white... Read More
Chapter 17 Junior's commute makes him feel "half Indian in one place and half white in another." He enjoys spending time with Penel... Read More
Chapter 18 In the school computer lab, Junior and Rowdy exchange e-mails. Junior laughs, missing Rowdy's juvenile humor in a world ... Read More
Chapter 19 Mary writes a brief letter to Junior. She's still job hunting. In the meantime she's decided to write her life story—abo... Read More
Chapter 20 Junior's considering skipping the Reardan basketball team tryouts. He fears he won't be good enough. His dad encourages ... Read More
Chapter 21 As Christmas approaches, Junior's family doesn't have much money for presents. The stress causes Dad to take the money t... Read More
Chapter 22 Junior tells the reader he hasn't "fallen in love with white people" as they might think—he still admires Native America... Read More
Chapter 23 Almost 2,000 Native Americans attend Junior's grandmother's wake. So many people attend that the wake is moved to a foot... Read More
Chapter 24 For Valentine's Day Junior gives Penelope a homemade valentine. A few days afterward Eugene is shot and killed by a good... Read More
Chapter 25 Junior is turning out to be a great player and shooter on the Reardan basketball team, to his surprise. Coach even sugge... Read More
Chapter 26 Junior e-mails Rowdy apologizing for the game. They trade insults. Junior realizes the tone is friendly, and they're tal... Read More
Chapter 27 Junior reflects on the 42 funerals he's been to at age 14. The deaths are "really the biggest difference between Indians... Read More
Chapter 28 Junior shares an illustration of his report card. He's drawn the school's Native American mascot and renamed the school ... Read More
Chapter 29 Junior goes with his parents to the graveyard to clean the graves of Eugene, Grandmother, and Mary. Junior's parents kis... Read More
Chapter 30 Junior praises the beauty of the reservation, especially its pine trees. One pine tree in particular, over 100 feet tall... Read More
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