Alexie’s Sherman, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian rant the challenges of adolescence in an enchanting tale, but deals with violence and culture. Arnold Spirit aka Junior, unpopular fourteen years old who was born hydrocephalic lives with his family in poverty on a Spokane Indian reservation in Willpinit, Washington. He isn’t happy who he is, he can’t accept himself due to his medical conditions and always being bullied by his community.
Being born with too much spinal fluid in his skull, forty-two teeth, and having a big head it made him feel like a retard. Having a history of bullying due to his conditions and physical appearance, he had to handle violence of ugly name-calling, getting jumped on, and being insulted. Although Junior inspires his community he still goes through violence which affects him physical and hormonal. Junior best friend Rowdy is the tough kid on the rez but has some anger issues.
Rowdy using objects to take out his anger is significant because when he got mad at Junior he knows he can’t hurt his only friend and objects don’t have feelings as Junior does. “Rowdy grabbed a shovel that somebody had been using to dig bbq holes and went after that van. Just beat the crap out of it”(20). Why do objects always have to be used to take out the anger? It is a way to get satisfaction because anger eats you up inside. As Rowdy, he uses it to take out his anger, to show he is tough, and show no emotions. Meanwhile, Junior was in class smelling his book he realized his mother’s name on the front cover of the book and got mad and threw a book to his teacher, Mr. P. Mr. P doing awful things in the past is significant because he felt that karma was coming back to him since he used to beat up Indians. “I deserved to get smashed in the face for what I’ve done to Indians”(41).
He believes karma is coming back to him because he used to beat up Indians. Mr. P has a feeling he needs to tell Junior to not give up and to move out the rez. He believes Junior still has hope since he fought his medical conditions and bullying. In return for what he has done before is giving he is giving advice and telling Junior to get out, chase his dreams, and to not give up on hope. New school, new buildings, new classmates, etc. can be hard adjusting to but you got to give a good impression of yourself, especially if you are coming from the reservation.
Junior move schools to a white high school in Rearden. When Junior walks through the school he was already getting picked on by Roger. Since he went along with his Spokane Indiana Rules Of Fisticuffs, “So I punch roger in the face”(65). Junior punching Roger is significant because he showed he wasn’t going to be picked on by no one. Since he was bullied in the other school he wants to start fresh, shows he deserved to go to any white school, and shows he is brave. There is nothing left at the reservation not even hope, Junior wants a better future and better opportunities in life; Junior knows the only way to achieve his goals is to get out of his comfort zone.
In conclusion, Junior being unpopular and weird he goes through being the victim of taunts and bullying. Living in the reservation with no hope or goals it was hard for him to do the right thing. Being surrounded by brutality, Sherman Alexie enables the reader to go into a dark and despicable world of the reservation and opens the hidden doors for many to see how Indians go through each day without quality education, poor jobs, and no hope.
Even though he had to endure things like violence and poverty he still showed great strength. People should learn from Junior because he can be a source of great stupendous motivation. His strength to overcome things didn’t come from winning a fight or talking to a beautiful girl it came from his struggles through punches, name calling, or simplifying being Indian. Overall violence was one of the hardest things he had to go through. It stop him from showing who he really is because he was afraid he would be called by ugly names or being bullied.