The Absolutely True Diary Of A Part Time Indian By Sherman Alexie

1875 Words 8 Pages
¬ The words “disgusted” and “heartbroken” describe my reactions to the destructive nature of poverty concerning young people. This aspect is discussed in the novel, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. My reactions include disgust because I did not expect Native Americans to live in absolute poverty and heartbrokenness because they continue to live in squalor while attempting to survive in it.
These reactions arose as I read, “It sucks to be poor, and it sucks to feel that you deserve to be poor” (Alexie 13). The word “deserve” struck a chord in me. I wondered: how could any human being believe, for a second, that he or she deserves to live in poverty with little access to adequate food supply and
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Moreover, Alexie helps me understand the impact of stigma through the perception of Arnold while attending Rearden High School. Now, I understand why a student would feel self-conscious using a SNAP or Lone Star Card at a grocery store. Arnold is the only Native American at his school and deals with the comparison to Rearden’s mascot, which is ironically an Indian. In addition, Arnold also faces a similar issue while attending high school. Alexie writes, “We [Arnold and his family] were poor enough to get free lunch, but I didn’t want to be the only Indian and a sad sack who needed charity” (Alexie 55). Like many students, Arnold does not want his peers expressing pity on him and providing him with food or money. Alexie reveals the reasons why Arnold feels self-conscious about living in poverty and opens the door to understanding. Although I have not lived in poverty, I empathize with Arnold’s obstacles because I have overcome some barriers as well. I may never understand what it feels like to be poor, but I am open to learning more about its effects and involve myself in the community to eliminate this issue. As a future educator, the well-being of students concerns me deeply. It absolutely breaks my heart to learn of the level of suffering experienced by Native Americans. Without Alexie’s novel, I would have continued to live in darkness and ignorance. It also disturbs me that some students would rather fast than be seen with a brown paper bag, or known as a person who has free breakfast or lunch. Additionally, Arnold feels pressure to keep up appearances while concealing poverty. Alexie writes, “My parents gave me just enough money so that I could pretend to have more than I did” (Alexie 119). His parents do their best to ensure that Arnold feels like a normal student. While revealing this aspect of the novel, he corrects this misconception about Native American life,

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