The Theme Of Poverty In The Absolutely True Diary Of A Part-Time Indian

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Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian touches on many issues faced by many modern-day Native Americans throughout their lives, one such issue being poverty, which appears to be present in most Indian families. The sort of poverty that plagues the Spokane reservation is the same kind that has plagued Native Americans for generations. One possible root cause for the situation would be that the current natives on the reservation see that their parents couldn’t do anything to rid themselves of poverty, so they lose hope and, as a result, perpetuate the problem. While the degree of poverty in Junior’s Indian reservation is extreme, the underlying struggles that come with such a financial predicament are to be made note …show more content…
Having too much confidence can be a dangerous thing, however, and so can having too little. In Junior’s case (at least, at the beginning of the novel), confidence isn’t exactly a prominent trait in anyone on the reservation. In the first few pages of the novel, he said “I wish I were magical, but I am really just a poor-ass reservation kid living with his poor-ass family on the poor-ass Spokane Indian Reservation” (Alexie 7). To lack confidence is to possess doubt, and doubt is exactly what prevents Spokane Indians from being successful. Throughout the novel, Junior develops a sense of confidence. One particular example of this development can be seen in his feelings towards basketball. Junior compares his experience on the basketball teams at Wellpinit and Rearden, associating the sudden change in skill with his confidence. “I’d always been the lowest Indian on the reservation totem pole—I wasn 't expected to be good so I wasn 't. But in Reardan, my coach and the other players wanted me to be good. They needed me to be good. They expected me to be good. And so I became good” (Alexie 181). He also mentions the “power of expectations,” which mostly has to do with self-assurance and how that’s affected by the assurance received by others. What Junior fails to realize is that poverty has shaped him into a resilient kid, someone who has the ability to believe in themselves despite the heavy burden they were born with, and the depressing situation they were born into. Author and writer Lynn Cline compares Sherman Alexie’s past to his present to convey the notion that poverty didn’t stop Alexie from achieving his goals: “Sherman Alexie… grew up on a reservation surrounded by poverty, alcoholism, and disease, and, against the odds, emerged to become a scintillating, multi-faceted author, voted by both The New Yorker and Granta as one of the best American writers under forty” (Cline

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