Part-Time Indian Essay In the book The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, Junior faced many hardships and obstacles while he stayed on the rez. Junior’s caring community and his strive for having a better life allows hope to exist despite the hardships he faced. Through some of the obstacles he had to face, like his lack of self-esteem, death, and poverty, Junior was able to persevere and find hope. Junior’s lack of self-esteem that he had on the reservation damaged him while he transferred to Reardan because he brought it with him and wasn’t very encouraging to himself.
When he tried out for the basketball team, he was immediately intimidated by all the other basketball players. Coach said that forty kids were trying out, but only twelve kids could make the junior-varsity and varsity teams. Junior’s lack of self-esteem hurt him, because he told himself that “I knew I wouldn’t make those teams. I was C-squad material, for sure” (Alexie 138). Those belittling statements showed that he didn’t have the confidence to think he was going to make the basketball team. This made Junior feel even worse about trying out because he didn’t feel that he could make any of the teams.
Coach decided to have the kids do a one-on-one drill, and put Junior up against Roger. At first Roger dominated Junior, and made Junior want to quit, but Coach came up and asked him “You want to take him on again? Or do you need a break? ”. Junior wanted to quit, but he persevered and told Coach that “I’ll take him on again” (Alexie 140). This allowed him to overcome the obstacle because even though he played against the best basketball player at Reardan, he still wanted to prove that he wasn’t going to give up.
This made him feel very gratified and accomplished, thus having Roger call him a warrior. After a handful of basketball games, Reardan finally went up against Wellpinit. As Reardan was walking in, the Wellpinit fans were screaming at Junior saying “Ar-nold sucks! Ar-nold sucks! ”. At this point in the novel, Junior was getting very apprehensive before the game. After ten minutes in the first quarter, Coach put Junior in and when he got on the court, someone threw a quarter at his forehead.
This drew blood and Junior had to be taken out of the game. He went into the locker room, and Eugene came there and told Junior that he would need about three stitches. Eugene told Junior that he could take him to the hospital, but Junior refused and told Eugene to “Stitch me up. I want to play tonight” (Alexie 146). This shows that Junior overcame his obstacle of low self-esteem and had more confidence in himself because he wanted Eugene to stitch him up just so he could play in the game.
This let him develop hope because of his strive to have a better life and not live in a life of gloom, and through a member of his community who helped him out when he needed it. Though he overcame his obstacle of low self-esteem, he needed to overcome the obstacle of death in his family. Junior overcoming his low self-esteem in his family gave him hope, but he still had to face poverty. After the Winter Formal dance, Roger invited both Penelope and Junior to a 24-hour diner. Since Junior wasn’t as wealthy as the rest of the kids, he didn’t have enough money to pay for his meal.
Halfway through the meal, he decided to go to the bathroom and bent over the toilet because he was nervous about not being able to pay for the meal. Roger came in and asked what was wrong, but instead of Junior telling the truth he lied saying that “My stomach is all messed up because I, er, forgot my wallet. I left all my money at home, man” (Alexie 126). This is an obstacle for Junior because he didn’t have any money to pay for food and he let poverty control his actions. This made him feel worse because he lied the whole time about being wealthy.
Roger, being the generous person he is, gave Junior forty dollars to pay for his meal. After the meal, Penelope confronts Junior and asks him if he is actually poor. Junior, not wanting to lie anymore, told Penelope “Yes, I am poor” (Alexie 127). This helped Junior overcome poverty because he admitted me was poor instead of being behind a wall of lies. This made him feel better because he admitted that he is poor and doesn’t have to lie anymore. When Penelope heard this, she asked who would be picking Junior up.
Junior said that no one is picking him up and that he had to either hitchhike or walk home. She cried and told Roger to take him home, and he gladly did. Junior came to the conclusion that “If you let people into your life a little bit, they can be pretty damn amazing” (Alexie 129). This gave Junior hope because even though he wasn’t wealthy, he realized that his friends would be able to take care of him and help him whenever he needed it. This let him develop hope because he realized that he could obtain help from his friends whenever he needed it.
Though Junior overcame his low self-esteem and faced poverty, he had to overcome the multiple deaths in his family. When his grandmother died, everyone who ignored and mistreated him stopped, and “So they all waved the white flag and let me grieve in peace” (Alexie 159). The death of his grandmother impacted his life greatly, because she was such a kind-hearted person. This made Junior feel distressed because he just had to bear the death of his grandmother. Though his grandmother died, the community made some light of the situation.
As they held the wake for their grandmother, one person named Billionaire Ted told a story about how he was given a powwow dance outfit that supposedly was Junior’s grandmother’s outfit. Junior’s mom came to inspect the outfit, and came to the realization that it wasn’t the grandmother’s outfit. With this, everyone who came to the grandmother’s wake was dying of laughter. Junior thought that “It was the most glorious noise I ever heard” (Alexie 166). This is an obstacle because for Junior and the rest of the community, they had to bear the passing of a loved one, but they turned the wake into a very blithe and jaunty celebration.
Junior came to the realization that “When it comes to death, we know that laughter and tears are pretty much the same thing” (Alexie 166). This let Junior know that even though his grandmother had passed away, the community turned the solemn day into a day of happiness. This made him feel jubilant and upright, giving him a sense of hope. Junior had to overcome many obstacles in his life, including his low self-esteem, poverty, and death. Though he had to face these in his life, he overcame them with his helpful community and his strive to live a better life.