Sherman Alexie Indian Belonging

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The Absolute True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie focuses on teenager Arnold Spirit Jr. growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Always considered an outsider, Junior is further ostracized when he decides to leave the reservation to attend the much richer and whiter Reardan high school. Although most of his tribe sees this decision as a betrayal to who he is, Junior hopes to better himself by leaving the reservation. Through this decision he finds new inner strength, better understanding of himself, and how his tribal heritage fits into his life.
In the novel author Sherman Alexie divulges into a semi-autobiographical genre as the character Junior reflects so much of Alexie’s childhood experiences. Both Alexie and Junior grew up in Wellpinit, Washington on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Alexie
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Junior has always dreamed of wanting to get of the reservation. In chapter one he tells the reader that he wants to be a famous artist one day because he feels it might be his “only real chance to escape the reservation. (Page 6)” With encouragement from Mr.P, Junior takes a huge leap towards escaping the reservation when he decides to attend school in the town of Reardan, “the rich, white farm town that sits … exactly twenty-two miles away from the rez. (Page 45)” When Junior leaves to attend Reardan he sees it as an opportunity for bettering himself, but his tribe sees it as a betrayal. This causes Junior to have an identity crisis as he tries to figure out where he fits in, even when he doesn’t fit in perfectly in either location. Is he actually Arnold, as the students at Reardan call him, or Junior, as he is known on the reservation? At first, the tribes’ treatment of Junior as a traitor causes him to doubt his decision, but as his self-confidence grows throughout the novel he feels more courageous about choosing to leave and attend

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