The Absolutely True Diary of A Part-Time Indian Essay Example

  • Category: Literature, Novels,
  • Words: 1091 Pages: 4
  • Published: 07 June 2021
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I had a rugged high school experience. I was the student that never did his work, didn’t care about much, and didn’t have any plans for the future. After high school, however, I felt stuck. All my closest friends were going to college as well as my girlfriend while I was stalling at home, pretending to be doing something beneficial for my future. To be honest, I was hesitant going to any college due to my non-academic background. My situation could be looked at similarly to Junior in, The Absolutely True Diary of A Part-Time Indian. In both situations, we were hesitant to go to a different area than the one we were originally familiar with, both had a rough beginning in life, and both saw loved ones leave to pursue dreams and careers. In the end, Junior’s choice to attend a different school, as well as play basketball, turns him into a creator,  and changes his personal identity because of the people he meets along the way.

In the chapter “Go Means Go,” Junior becomes a creator by making the decision to go to Reardan, due to Mr. P persuading him to hold onto his aspirations and to seek a higher education. Mr. P does not want Junior to lose hope for his future by staying on the reservation like everybody else in his family; he wants to flourish and create his own future. Furthermore, Junior cannot alter his ethnicity, nor can he alter the fact that he was born into the reservation lifestyle. As a result, he chooses to change schools which will begin a new way of life. Because of this leap of faith in his life and accepting the possible backlash from his Native community, this makes him turn his victim mindset into a creator mindset. In “Adopting The Creator Role,” Skip Downing states, “When we respond as a Victim, we complain, blame, make excuses, and repeat ineffective behaviors. When we respond as a Creator. . . [we ask] which option will best help me create my desired outcomes and experiences?” (Downing 27).

Downing is explaining how much better it is to seek out desired outcomes, rather than making excuses for a situation that one can control. Junior has spent much of his life blaming his outcomes on his parents, friends, community, and his race when he could have made more changes to his attitude towards life earlier on. However, Junior soon tells his parents, “I want to transfer schools” (Alexie 45). By him expressing this to his parents at the beginning of the novel, he creates a path for a new way of life.

In the chapter “Reindeer Games,” Junior receives his call to adventure when he tries out for the Reardan basketball team. However, he is skeptical at first because he doesn’t want to get cut from the team or feel humiliation in another way that the game may bring him. In “The Call,” Reg Harris states that on a mythical level we may become heroes when we “sense that there is something lacking in life” (Harris). He is saying that when something is missing from one’s life, we become a hero when we attempt to fill what is indeed missing. Junior states, “Anyway, I signed up for basketball. On the first day of practice, I stepped onto the court and felt short, skinny, and slow” (Alexie 136). This is the initial scene when Junior receives the call.

Junior referred to himself as a “yucker”, meaning that he occasionally vomited before games. This is one example of many that show his insecure nature. Up until he beat the Wellpinit Redskins, his former team back home, many of his tribe provoked him and showed resentment. However, because he showed courage during the final game and with himself, he won and felt that he belonged. Belonging was one of the biggest things that was missing in his life. Not only did he represent a strong image for himself, but also to the Natives as a whole. When Junior defended the ball from Rowdy, his former best friend from the reservation, and made the first point, the gym exploded with excitement. He said, “My dad hugged the white guy next to him. . . [he] hugged and kissed him like they were brothers.” Junior stated earlier that even though he was a good player, the stigma of being Native still followed him. After the game, however, it’s a possibility that many racial barriers between whites and Natives in the court were broken for a moment; this was a beautiful thing. For most of the novel, Junior was addressing the strong racial prejudices towards him. However, this was one of the first moments that he feels normal when attending an all-white school.

Junior’s decision to attend an all-white school significantly changes his personal identity because of the people and friends he meets along the way. Before he attended Reardan, he only knew what was already set in stone for him at the reservation and his way of life was unchanging. Going to Reardan opened up many new doors and opportunities for Junior that ended up significantly altering his identity. In “Factors That Influence Personal Identity,” Miranda Herbert and Michele LaMeau state, “A good friend can reassure you in moments of self-doubt and even remind you of the strengths you have if you have forgotten them” (Factors).

Herbert and LaMeau express how close people can give one hope and reassurance when one has uncertainty or when one needs a reminder of power. Junior experiences this many times throughout the novel from different people he meets at Reardan. The coach of the Reardan basketball team said, “You can do it” (Alexie 189). By the coach expressing this confidence in Junior, it helped him change the way he views himself. Junior states how these are “the four hugest words in the world when they’re put together” (Alexie 189). Before attending Reardan, Junior always had insecurities based on ethnicity and appearance. However, before the basketball game, Coach gave him inspiration and hope. This made him find courage in himself, put his insecurities aside, and reminded him of his strengths that he had forgotten at the reservation. In the end, because of Junior’s decision to attend Reardan, he meets people that help shape his personal identity by reassuring him in moments of self-doubt.

Because Junior decides to attend Reardan, his new experiences and people he meets along the way allow him to generate a new beginning, as well as allow him to discover his personal identity. His turn at becoming a creator started the moment when he made the mental decision to move to the new school. After securing the win against the Wellpinit Redskins, he redefines how he sees himself. This makes him not hate his ethnicity, and can embrace who he is. The people he meets along the way remind him of his strengths at a time he most needed it. Discovering our strengths, embracing our differences, and overcoming hardships is some of the most important things that we can do in life.

 

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