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In The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Mr. P tells Junior he must leave...

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matte12 | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 6, 2013 at 7:27 PM via web

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In The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Mr. P tells Junior he must leave the reservation. Rowdy on the other hand thinks Junior is a traitor when Junior tells him about his plans. What advice would you give Junior? 

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted November 7, 2013 at 7:12 AM (Answer #1)

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It is important to look very carefully at what Mr P says to Junior when he tells him to leave the reservation, and his reasons for giving him this advice. Mr P identifies very accurately that Junior is different from those around him because he has "refused to give up." What characterises so many Indians, including both himself and also Junior's friend, Rowdy, is that they have "given up," or they have accepted the life that society has carved out for them and refuse to fight against that. Junior is differnet because of his detrmination to keep on fighting and not become a member of the group of "defeated" Indians:

But not you... You can't give up. You won't give up. You threw that book in my face because somewhere inside you refuse to give up.

Mr P sees in Junior a young man who has been "fighting" since he was born, and thus the only advice he can give Junior is to "take your hope and go somewhere where other poeple have hope." Exploring this a bit further, it is clear that Junior has to decide between two choices, both of them involving incredible loss and suffering. He can stay on the reservation, in which case, as Mr P assures him, he will be "killed" by those around him because of his difference. This clearly relates to not his physical death but the sense of hope that he carries within him. If he stays at the reservation, eventually, he will join the ranks of the "defeated," or of those who have "given up." The other option involves leaving, which is very risky, because of the way in which he will be treated by his friends and family on the reservation. However, really, Junior only has one option, even though it is incredibly hard for him. The only way he can be true to himself is to leave the reservation, even though this estranges him from his friends like Rowdy. The advice I would give Junior would therefore be to go and leave the reservation, but to be prepared that he is going to have a very tough time as he leads his life of being a "part-time Indian."


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