IB English B HL – Literature Circle: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
Welcome to our literature circle for The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian novel by Sherman Alexie! This is the most complete guide to the novel on the internet, Enjoy!
Junior is a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian reservation. Born with a variety of medical problems, he is picked on by everyone but his best friend. Determined to receive a good education, Junior leaves the rez to attend an all-white school in the neighboring farm town where the only other Indian is the school mascot. Despite being condemned as a traitor to his people and enduring great tragedies, Junior attacks life with wit and humor and discovers a strength inside of himself that he never knew existed.
Written with raw emotion by acclaimed writer Sherman Alexie, the National Book Award-winning novel THE ABSOLUTELY TRUE DIARY OF A PART-TIME INDIAN chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one unlucky boy trying to rise above the life everyone expects him to live.
-Created by: Steven Nanda, Clara Tandi, Da Hye Kim, Friska Agneta, James Adhitthana
Raw Text (To view the proper file open the PDF file above)
Literature Circle Section 1
S u m m a r y
- Junior was born with too much cerebral fluid inside the skull.
- He suffered all sorts of physical problems due to that such as
- 42 teetH ( the normal person only has 32
- Nearsighted in one eye and farsighted on the other
- Big hands and feet
- Enormous skull
- Seizures (twice a week)
- Stutter and lisp
- He is bullied because of his physical and internal condition
- Drawing cartoons is his escape
- He was born from a poor family
- His best friend (pet), Oscar, died due to poverty. His family doesn’t have enough money to take him to the vet.
- Indians living in the rez doesn’t get the chance to chase their dreams.
- Rowdy is Junior’s best friend who was born on the same day with Junior but has different personality from him.
- Rowdy grew up in a harsh family that does physical punishment.
- Rowdy is a fan of comic books and pretend that he lives in it.
- Junior’s older sister, Mary, is pretty, strong, funny, crazy and random.
- Mary is basically the opposite of Junior in a way that Junior is excited about life and also about school while Mary’s not.
- P is Junior’s teacher. Often times he forgot to go to school and teach.
- Due to poverty that is in his tribe and school, Junior study from the same book his parents learn from.
S t o r y M a p
- Junior (Main Character
- P (Math Teacher)
- Rowdy (Junior’s best friend)
- Oscar (Junior’s dog)
- Mary (Junior’s sister)
V o c a b u l a r y
L i m p e d
- D e f i n i t i o n : to walk with a labored, jerky movement, as when lame; to proceed in a lame, faltering, or labored manner
- W o r d O r i g i n : An English word established in 1560s. The word relates to the word lympen which means “to fall short” which also comes from Old English lemphealt, which means lame and hesitant.
- W h y ? The reason why we choice this word is because the word in the context was too broad. It gave us a negative connotation about the specific word but not about the whole scene.
A m b i d e x t r o u s
- D e f i n i t i o n : able to use both hands equally well // S l a n g : Bisexual
- W o r d O r i g i n : established in 1640s from the word ambidexter, which means “double-dealing” inspired a French word ambidextre, which means, “Right handed on both sides”. The word ambi means both and dexter means right appended.
- W h y ? We have never heard the word before. We’re not familiar with it.
V a r s i t y
- D e f i n i t i o n : any first-string team, especially in sports, that represents a school, college, and university of pertaining to a university or school team, activity or competition.
- W o r d O r i g i n : established in 1846. Shortened form of university. Mainly used at universities in Britain and New Zealand. S l a n g d e f i n i t i o n : A slang that is commonly used in English communication
- W h y ? The word was too broad in the sentence and the word was repeated for a few times because it talks about the school life of Junior.
- How does Junior’s physical condition affect other’s perspective on him?
“everybody on the rez calls me a retard about twice a day. They call me a retard when they are pantsing me or stuffing my head in the toilet or just smacking me upside the head” (Page 4, par. 7).
Other People belittle him because his physical appearance (huge head, hands and feet) and disabilities (stutter and lisp). And so, Peopl beat him up, bully and make fun of him; i.e. andruss brothers. 2. How is poverty affecting his life as a student?
“but we reservation Indians don’t get to realize our dreams. we don’t get those chances. or choices. we’re just poor..” (Page 13, par. 3)
“my school and my tribe are so poor and sad that we have to study from the same dang books our parents studied from.” (Page 31, Par. 6) His economic situation causes him to not be able to study with maximum benefit because the text book he’s using is out of date (its used since his mother went to the same school) and inadequate teachers (mr.p forgets that he has class).
3 . O n P a g e 1 1 J u n i o r ‘ s D a d d e c i d e d t o k i l l O s c a r , J u n i o r ‘ s D o g w h o w a s d y i n g . H i s d a d c l a i m e d t h a t h e w a s h e l p i n g O s c a r , b e c a u s e t h e y c o u l d n o t a f f o r d t h e m e d i c a t i o n . D o y o u t h i n k h i s a c t i o n i s e t h i c a l ? W h y o r W h y n o t ?
On one hand, taking the life of another creature is never ethical. But in this case, it may not be ethical, it we think it’s the right and bes decision. Oscar is in pain, and they don’t have money either to help Oscar get better, so killing Oscar is taking the pain away and i helping him.
B i b l i o g r a p h y ;
h t t p : / / y a r e v i e w s . w i k i s p a c e s . c o m / f i l e / v i e w / s c a n . j p g / 3 2 9 6 6 9 2 3 / s c a n . j p g h t t p : / / s c h i e d e l . w e e b l y . c o m / u p l o a d s / 1 / 1 / 8 / 3 / 1 1 8 3 9 9 6 6 / 1 8 3 5 1 5 9 _ o r i g . p n g
h t t p : / / w w w . w o n d e r e m p o r i u m . o r g / w p – c o n t e n t / u p l o a d s / b l o g – p a r t – t i m e – i n d i a n – 0 1 . j p g h t t p : / / j u d y s t w e e n b l o g . f i l e s . w o r d p r e s s . c o m / 2 0 1 2 / 1 0 / a b s o l u t e l y 3 . j p g
h t t p : / / t h e t r u e d i a r y o f a p a r t i m e i n d i a n . w e e b l y . c o m / u p l o a d s / 2 / 0 / 7 / 1 / 2 0 7 1 3 1 8 6 / 6 9 2 3 8 0 7 . j p g ? 2 3 4
S u m m a r y
|MR.P was supposed to kill Indian culture. •
Mary, Junior’s sister, wanted to write romance novel.
Junior supposed the whole family is depressed •
Junior is expected to leave the rez because he still has hope. • Racism appears from the cops who try to stop every Indians who drive through ReardaN.
Thought of as a betrayal since he left the rez. •
Rowdy hates Junior because he left the rez. •
Junior deals with bully and racism in his new school. •
Indians were taught to fight. •
|Rowdy always keep secret and he kept Junior’s secret about him crying over Dawn.
Junior like a white girl, Penelope.
Junior’s commute to school is an adventure since his family is poor and sometimes there’s no gas money and he started walk home.
Junior’s sister got married and moves to Montana.
Junior became friends with Gordy.
Junior’s sister is doing fine in Montana.
Rowdy’s dad thought that Junior is gay because of his cartoon
- Junior deals with the different culture in the new school since he punched Roger but Roger finds him odd due to that.
I B L e a r n e r p r o f i l e
- risk taker – junior takes the risk to leave the rez, although the majority will think of him as a betrayer, to pursue a better future.
- open-minded – Junior is willing to learn a different culture other than his own.
- knowledgeable – by moving to a new society, junior learns new knowledge.
S t o r y
M a p
V o c a b u l a r y
P u m m e l e d :
- Definition: strike repeatedly with the fists
- Word Origin: 1540s. Used as a change of the word pommel in the verbal since which is to “beat repeatedly.” In 1600 they used the word pumble or poumie.
- Slang definition: An adjective that means intoxicated with alcohol or beat up.
- Why: The word in the sentence wasn’t clear. It didn’t give a particular idea of the effect of the word and we’re assuming that it’s an action that gives us an overview of how bullying is.
R u m m a g e d :
- D e f i n i t i o n : Search unsystematically and untidily through something
- W o r d O r i g i n : Refers to the arrangement (cargo) in a ship in 1540. In 1520, the statement “act of arranging cargo in a ship” is a shortening of Middle French arrange which means the arrangement of cargo to store goods in the hold of a ship. Rumer can refer to space in German of rum as in room in old English. Basically to search closely of a ship by the act of moving things and recorded in 1610s.
- W h y : The word Rummaged in the context was clear that it gives a negative connotation of a specific action though we weren’t sure of what it really meant because it’s not a word we’re familiar with and we had never heard of it in our daily lives.
W I M P :
- D e f i n i t i o n : a weak and cowardly or unadventurous person
- W o r d O r i g i n : Found in 1920 but not confirmed until 1960. It’s a shortened word for whimper. Whimp was used in 1540 probably influenced by J. Wellington Wimpy, which is a character in “Popeye” comics .The word wimp is an acronym mainly used in physics and IT. Physics: Weakly Interactive Massive Particle and in IT: Window Icons Menus Pointers.
- S l a n g D e f i n i t i o n : college students mostly use the word wimp because the unaggressive character in the comic “Popeye” inspires the origin of the word and it refers to a soft, awkward, unmacho person. Another slang from this word is wimp out which means to cancel from an action or place because of fear similar to the phrase “chicken out”.
- W h y ? The word in the sentence “Jesus, You’re a Wimp” remained mysterious because the word itself could be used in a positive way or a negative way but we were curious of how big the effect of the word is in the context until Rowdy had to use a powerful subject like Jesus.
L o p s i d e d :
- D e f i n i t i o n : With one side lower than the other
- W o r d O r i g i n : Found in 1711 also referred to the word lop-sided from the original word lapsided. It is first used for ships. It is also a combination of the word lop (to cut off) and the word side.
- W h y ? Some of us heard it before but we were all weren’t sure of what it really meant.
T a u t o l o g i e s :
- D e f i n i t i o n : the saying of the same thing twice over in different words, generally considered to be a fault of style
- W o r d o r i g i n : Found in 1570s. Tautology comes from the word tautologia in Late Latin, which means representations of the same thing whereas in Greek, it means repeating what has been said. Tauto means the same and logos means saying.
- W h y ? We never heard the word before and in the context
Q U E S T I O N
- . D o y o u t h i n k j u n i o r i s a t r a i t o r t o h i s t r i b e ? W h y o r W h y n o t ? ( D i s c u s s a b o u t t h e i n c i d e n c e w h e r e h e w a s b e a t e n u p , p a g e 7 9 )
In our point of view, he’s not a traitor. Its actually good because since no one has ever gotten out of the rez, he’s opening a way for Indians to be more accepted in a white environment. Thus, improving future generation of kids in the rez so they can have an opportunity to get a better education.
- . p . 8 3 , p . 1 1 8 . I s i t e v e n p o s s i b l e f o r J u n i o r t o b e h a l f I n d i a n a n d h a l f w h i t e ? W h i c h s i d e s h o u l d h e b e i n ? R e a r d a n
o r W e l l p i n i t ?
WEL, GENETICALLY, IT ISN’T POSSIBLE BECAUSE HE COMES FROM BOTH FULLY INDIAN PARENTS. BUT IN TERMS OF HIS IDENTITY, WE THINK IT IS POSSIBLE. AS HE GOES BACK AND FORTH FROM THE REZ TO REARDAN, HAVING TWO LIVES, HIS MINDSET MIGHT SHIFT FROM FULLY INDIAN TO HAVING AN OPEN MIND TOWARDS THE WHITES. WE DON’T THINK ITS POSSIBLE FOR HIM TO FULLY CHANGE HIS IDENTITY TO A WHITE PERSON, OR STAY IN HIS INDIAN IDENTITY. HE’S GOING TO END UP HAVING BOTH SIDES, AND THUS HAVING AN OPEN MIND BECAUSE HE HAS TWO INFLUENCES. 3 . T o w h a t e x t e n t d o e s J u n i o r ’ s r a c e a s a n I n d i a n d e t e r m i n e h i s s o c i a l s t a t u s ?
To THE extent that he starts believing that being Indian or his race is equivalent to being poor. PEOPLE FROM HIS OWN TRIBE THINKS THAT GOING TO A WHITE SCHOOL, IS THOUGHT OF AN ACT OF BETRAYAL, WHEN HE’S ACTUALLY PURSUING A BETTER EDUCATION. MAYBE THAT’S WHY PEOPLE IN THE REZ THINK HE IS A TRAITOR, BECAUSE THEY DON’T THINK THAT INDIANS SHOULD OR COULD PURSUE A BETTER FUTURE.
L i t e r a t u r e C i r c l e – S e c t i o n 3 October 31, 2014
( Hunger Pains, Rowdy gives me advice about Love) WOK
By: Steven Nanda, Clara tandi, Da Hye Kim, Friska IB LEARNER PROFILES
Agneta, James adhitthana
S u m m a r y
- Penelope is bulimic. “I’m sick of Indian guys who treat white woman like
- Penelope and Arnold is the hot item on Reardan High sc bowling trophies. Get a life.” Indians considered white
- Penelope’s father is a racist. woman as trophies.
- White girls are considered privileged. Arnold is considered as half Indian and half White.
I B L E A R N E R P R O F I L E
- Caring – Junior cares about penelope’s situation and feelings.
- open-minded – junior is open-minded, although he sort of judges Penelope for being anorexic, he still tries to understand penelope’s point of view and reasons.
V o c a b u l a r y
S c i n t i l l a t i n g
- D e f i n i t i o n : to emit sparks; flash; to twinkle
- W o r d O r i g i n : The word was found in 1620s. The word scintillate comes from the a Latin word scintillates W h y ? We have no clue what it means and we never heard of it used in our daily communication.
Q u e s t i o n
- Gordy called Junior a racist by loving Penelope, a white girl. What are your views about his statement?
We can see gordy’s point of view where he thinks that Junior is racist, because he favors penelope. But We don’t think there is relevancy in the comparison between junior falls in love with a white girl and the case where Mexican girls go missing (and no one cares, but when 1 white girl goes missing, everyone becomes concern)). maybe junior really does admire Penelope, and want to matter to someone
- in your opinion, What are Penelope’s motives on being close to Junior, a poor Indian boy?
Well, out of all the possible motives, the most probable one we think is because Junior and Penelope are kind of in the same boat, and maybe Penelope feels that Junior understands her, and sees her more than just like a trophy.
- What may be Rowdy’s reason for staying at Wellpinit and not following Junior’s footsteps?
It may be because he thinks that it’s too risky and he doesn’t want to betray the rez. Out of all these years, no one has ever had the guts to do it or ever thought that there is more to life than in the rez. Since it’s the first time, no one knows how it will turn out; whether it will be bad or good.
B i b l i o g r a p h y :
S t o r y
M a p
“The absolutely true diary of a part time indian” Novel
S u m m a r y
-‐ People in Reardan assumed Spokanes made a lot of money because they had a casino (Stereotype)
-‐ Arnold took Penelope to Winter Formal but he has no money.
-‐ Best night of Arnold’s life since his dad’s suit was thought to be retroactive since Roger became his buddy.
-‐ Penelope’s dad favored Roger.
-‐ Roger and Penelope knew that Arnold is poor.
-‐ Indians think that to have a better life you need to be white.
-‐ Gordy knew that Arnold’s ex best friend hates Arnold because Rowdy thinks Arnold’s traitor.
-‐ Arnold is the Weapon of Mass Destruction.
-‐ Everyone from Spokane hated Arnold.
-‐ Rowdy smashed his elbow to Arnold and knocks him unconscious.
-‐ Worse thing parent could do is to ignore their children.
-‐ Best thing in Reardan: Penelope and Gordy
-‐ Best thing in Wellpinit: Grandma because she’s tolerant.
-‐ gradually Indians are less indians
-‐ Grandma died killed by a drunk driver and he asked her family to forgive the drunk driver.
-‐ Everyone came to grandma’s funeral but the sister wasn’t able to join the funeral. People stopped calling Arnold names or pushed him.
-‐ Eugene was shot and killed by his good friend, Bobby.
-‐ Arnold was mad about the recent problems that happen in his life.
-‐ Everyone in class stand up for Arnold.
-‐ Arnold is a good basketball player.
-‐ Arnold is thought to be able to go to college and that is a rare thing.
-‐ Arnold wondered whether an Indian could have a legacy in a white town.
-‐ ‘You can do it’ is the best phrase for Arnold.
-‐ Reardan Indians vs Wellpinit Redskins is similar to David vs Goliath. However Reardan was the Goliath.
-‐ Arnold felt sorry for beating Wellpinit in the game.
s t o r y m a p
- All are white students (except for Junior) • All students are Indian Has rules for fighting
- No rules for fighting Smaller body size
- People are economically People are economically poor
stable • Students might not even afford
- Everyone is going to college breakfast
- Everyone owns a gadget Student’s parents are usually
- Parents rarely visit their afliliated illegal activities such as with crack and meth child in school
- Not everyone know each other school Parents visit their child in even in a small town • Everyone knows each other
being an individual and being a member “Life is a constant struggle between “You have to dream big to get of the community” big”
g o r d y C o a c h
V o c a b u l a r y
T o t e m p o l e
- D e f i n i t i o n : a hierarchical system
- Word Origin: Totem Pole is thought of figuratively as a symbol of a hierarchy. Example: “Where does she stand on the totem pole?”
- Why? The reason why we picked this word is that because the word in that context shows the social class, which is one of the most important aspect of racism in Junior’s life.
Q U E S T I O N S
- If you were Arnold, would you lie to Penelope about being rich? Why?
no, it’s better to tell the truth because at the end, if the lie comes out, it will be more embarrassing. it is also not good to be someone that you are not.
- “Some Indians think you become white to make your life better. Some Indians think you become white if you try to make your life better, if you become successful.” What does this statement imply? Do you agree? Why or why not?
there is a link between race and stereotypes; It implies that Indians cannot be successful, simply because they are not white. No, we don’t agree because success isn’t based on what race your are from but about hard work and taking opportunities.
- “Well, life is a constant struggle between being an individual and being a member of the community.” (Page 132 paragraph 3) What does it mean to Arnold personally?
for Arnold, we think it means that he has to be balanced; be both an individual and a member. an individual in terms of he has to fight against his tribe and family to go to reardan for a better future. but on the other hand, he is also a member of two different culture.
- How is Arnold’s personality changing ever since he moved from Wellpinit? “I bumped his fist with mine. I was a warrior! It all gave me hope. It gave me a little bit of joy” (Page 176)
Arnold is evolving into a more confident and brave human being. he has always been good, but he has never believed in himself. Now that he does believe he is good along with support from people around him, so this shows that the mind is really strong and powerful. since he is also exposed to new culture and environment, it forces him to become open-minded; considerate of others.
W a y s o f K n o w i n g
I n t u i t i o n
Arnold uses his intuition to be able to socialize with his friends (penelope and roger) .
M e m o r y
Junior uses his memory to understand his grandmother’s tolerance and tolerance decrease in his tribe.
“The absolutely true diary of a part time indian” Novel http://blogs.ubc.ca/literaturecircle/summarizers/ http://www.sci-news.com/biology/article00969.htmL http://www.bariatricpal.com/page/articles.html/_/mental-health/trust-your-gut-r241
Literature Circle – Section 5 October 28, 2014
(Because Russian Guys Are Not Always Geniuses, My Final Freshman
- 90 percent of deaths in rez are the result of alcohol.
- The sister passed away due to alcohol. The trailer that they live was caught on fire.
- Mother and father depressed due to the loss of their daughter.
- Arnold thinks that the death of their sister is his fault because Arnold left the rez makes the sister has the courage to leave the rez too.
- The whole school in Reardan cared for Arnold.
- Mary is courageous by chasing her dreams.
- Staying on the rez would kill Arnold.
- Reservations were meant to be death camp for Indians.
- Indians love ghost and monsters.
- Rowdy and Arnold played basketball together at the end and they became friends again.
R e s e r v a t i o n :
- D e f i n i t i o n : a tract of public land set apart for a special purpose, as for the use of an Indian Tribe
- W o r d O r i g i n : late 14th Comes from a French word and directly from Late Latin reservation
- W h y ? We chose this word because its a symbolic representation of the condition.
V u l n e r a b l e :
- D e f i n i t i o n : capable of or susceptible to being wounded or hurt, as by a weapon
- W o r d O r i g i n : From a Late Latin word vulnerabilis, which means wound
- W h y ? It’s a significant word for Junior by Miss Warren. Junior also thinks that he is vulnerable because he was a reservation Indian attending an all white school and his sister died due to Arnold’s action.
s t o r y m a p
C h a r a c t e r M a p
- Easy to get mad
- Loves reading comics
- Best friends with Rowdy Enemies with Rowdy? iv. Punches everyone who makes physical contact
- Secretly he is very caring to Rowdy
- Covers up his emotions
- Gave Arnold a concussion
- MVP (Most Valuable Player) in Welpinit’s basketball team
- Cried in front of Rowdy
Q u e s t i o n s
- . W h y d o e s A r n o l d l a u g h s e x c e s s i v e l y o n h i s s i s t e r ‘ s d e a t h ?
Arnold’s excessive laughter is a nervous laughter; which is proven by psychology. It occurs when a person is under a huge stress / trauma and so the laughter acts as a weapon. Laughter diminishes the pain that’s felt due to traumatic loss. He wishes that Mary’s death isn’t true. Because in a way Arnold feels as if her death is his fault.
- . I n t h i s s e c t i o n , w e g e t t o s e e a s u r p r i s i n g s e n t i m e n t a l s i d e o f R o w d y , w h o i s p r e v i o u s l y p i c t u r e d a s a t o u g h , I n d i a n g u y . W h y d i d R o w d y c r y d u r i n g M a r y ‘ s f u n e r a l a n d w h a t c a n w e l e a r n f r o m h i m ?
Rowdy may look like a tough, no emotion guy, but we think that he actually cares. He cares about mary because she might be like a sisterly figure as Arnold is a brother to him. He blames it on Arnold for mary’s Death; Arnold started moving and so mary moved too, with a man she just met.
- . T h e I n d i a n s o n t h e r e s e r v a t i o n w o u l d g e t d r u n k , e v e n i n g r i e f s i t u a t i o n s l i k e M a r y ‘ s f u n e r a l . W e a l s o g e t t o w i t n e s s t h e d e a t h o f A r n o l d ‘ s c l o s e r e l a t i v e s a s a r e s u l t o f a l c o h o l i s m . U n l i k e A r n o l d w h o u n d e r s t a n d s h o w
d e v a s t a t i n g a l c o h o l i s m c a n b e , w h y w o u l d t h e I n d i a n s r e m a i n t o k e e p o n d r i n k i n g ?
We think that it might be because it’s a tradition. It’s their way to cope with pain because alcohol can make you forget about the pain, at least for awhile. But actually inside they’re all screaming / grieving.