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Diary of a Part Time Indian

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This is a thesis which shows how discrimination is directed towards an ethnic group and further towards an individual. This is done by examining a text authored by Sherman Alexie and presents an analysis which is based on the recounts of the book. The book based on Arnold Junior Spirit narrates a story about the school life of a young Indian boy and the struggles he encounters in his school life. A critical examination of the events which take place brings out clearly the theme of individual challenges against various issues which seem to be ever present with the person. This essay will analyze the book and show that the overriding lessons learnt from reading the book are those of how an individual struggles against group opinions; what is accepted as common among a group. The text shows how an individual singly fights against a perceived notions common to groups. This thesis has great significance has it shows how an individual can work out against opposition from a group and succeed; it illustrates the key characteristics an individual ought to have. 

Analysis of the Absolutely true diary of a part time Indian. The struggles of the Arnold are very evident from the very beginning of this text: “I was born with water on the brain” (Sherman 1). Arnold goes ahead to explain what he means by his head having too much water in a very comical way and shows how this “water” has been a source of all kind of trouble to him. He claimed to have survived surgery and goes ahead to explain about how he had his ten extra teeth removed. The narration in the book shows further struggles that Arnold is exposed to due to the fact that he is an Indian. He is a victim of circumstances and has to have all his ten teeth removed at once and surprisingly at half the usual dose of Novocain because being an Indian he is not expected to feel much pain; “only felt half as much pain as white people” (Sherman 3). Arnold seems to be dogged by lot of misfortunes; he is given eyeglasses which are quite funny and which depicts him as an old grandpa. The surgery he had left his eyes with different sights one being farsighted and the other nearsighted. Arnold goes on to describe all the deformities in his body that sets him apart from the other fellow Indian students and as such earns him funny names like orbit and globe. He also describes about the suffering that he underwent in the hands of bullies. He says, “Everybody on the Rez calls a retard about twice a day” (Sherman 4).

Arnold is exposed to too much discrimination and mistreatment from other students that one wonders how he manages his daily life at school. It is very clear that at school it is Arnold against everybody. The author of the book brings out a great struggle between an individual and a group of scorners from the student fraternity and even the health providers. There is some inner struggle seen between Arnold and his community. His Indian community is too poor for him to bear. He can not believe that he is using the same text that his grandmother had used: to him that is too much to bear. He struggles with many philosophies of his own community, for instance, he is surprised to discover that in his community alcohol has a higher ranking of importance than education. He struggles to come in terms with the poverty levels in his family and community; poverty, which he is aware, that has cost him so much. Despite all these struggles and discouragements which anybody expects to make Arnold feel dishearten he makes a move few expected and transferred to a more challenging situation. He transferred to a new school which was predominantly white student school.

Very vital lessons are learnt from recounts of Arnold. It is clear that amidst all the scorning heaped on him he does not lose his focus. He holds unto it tenaciously even when he seemingly has no hope for life due to his frequent headaches which arise out of his brain damage. Arnold represents an individual in a disadvantaged extreme who fights against all odds to the extent of surprisingly himself beside the others. It should be appreciated that he struggles wins him lots of respect despite his awkward bodily figure. This is truly depicted by his winning the heart of a white girl. As a matter of fact girls at such young ages as depicted in the book are less likely to go for a boy of the depiction of Arnold bearing in mind he was an Indian. It is surprising that Arnold was able to prove an excellent player despite his body posture taking in to account his eyesight struggles and “orbital head”.  

The author of this book tries to bring out the facts that it is possible for an individual to stand against a group. What is needed on the part of the individual is keeping focus on the results and making an assumption that all the ridicules do not exist. There is also the lesson of being a persevering person whenever dealing with groups. It should be recalled that when Arnold transferred to a new school he was labeled a traitor by even his best friend; in the last chapter we see these two playing together without keeping any scores. The author brings out the factor of fear clearly when Arnold transfers to the new school where he describes his fear of being killed by the white kids who all appear to be very healthy. Never giving up is also a lesson learnt from this book; despite all the discouragement that Arnold receives from his close associates about the white girl he has fallen in love with he does not give up on her. This book therefore brings overriding lessons on how an individual can deal with opposing groups and yet succeed.

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