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How does humor assist Arnold (Junior) in creating his own identity to be a...

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jgraceclark | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted June 29, 2011 at 4:34 AM via web

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How does humor assist Arnold (Junior) in creating his own identity to be a "full-blooded Indian" in The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian?

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cetaylorplfd | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted June 29, 2011 at 6:10 AM (Answer #1)

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From the beginning of the novel, Junior uses humor to introduce himself to the reader.  He draws pictures of himself that exaggerate his physical disabilities and oddities, and these self-parodies allow Junior to express himself.  Throughout the story, Junior tries to take the hardships that he experiences in stride, and often he resorts to humor to deal with the harsh realities of life on the reservation.  When Junior gets into serious arguments with his best friend Rowdy over Junior's leaving the rez to attend school at Reardon, Junior draws cartoons to illustrate their conflict.  In the end, Junior learns that even though there are harsh realities on the rez, there is a sense of beauty and community there as well.  He and Rowdy are able to rekindle their friendship, and this suggests that Junior has accepted his full-blood Indian identity.

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