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I love this book!
The main character Junior goes through both internal and external conflict:
INTERNAL CONFLICTS occur when a character is arguing with him/herself over some sort moral or ethical dilemma. It's that "should I, or shouldn't I?" debate that we all encounter when facing tough decisions.
- should he stay on the reservation and not get the best education available, or should he go to the "white" school and betray his Indian family/friends so that he can have the best?
- should he continue the argument with Rowdy and hold a grudge or should he let it go so that he can have his best friend back?
- should Junior stay true to his past and his history, or should he try to be more like his new white friends so that he can fit in better?
EXTERNAL CONFLICTS occur when a character battles any outside force. The primary type of external conflict in this novel is human vs. human.
- the scene where Junior fights off the bully on one of his first few days at his new school.
- when Rowdy tries to punch Junior
- when the other people on the reservation pick on Junior
The conflicts portrayed in The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie are of two types, those within the Native American community and those in which the Native American community comes into conflict with the white community. The protagonist, Junior, is involved in both of these communities.
The first major conflict for Junior and many of the other Native American characters in the story is that of the degree to which they should remain within the reservation and its culture or whether they need to interact with the surrounding white culture. For those who choose to leave the reservation for school or career, they must balance the type of cultural assimilation necessary for success in the outside world with trying to hold on to their own traditions and values.
Junior struggles for acceptance among his peers, wanting to avoid the violence and alcoholism the plague the reservation, but also not wanting to assimilate to the unthinking prejudices of the white children.
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