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What is the summary for Chapter 23 of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time...

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Scott Locklear | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted January 8, 2009 at 7:54 AM via web

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What is the summary for Chapter 23 of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian?

This chapter is titled "Wake".

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dymatsuoka | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted January 12, 2009 at 1:07 AM (Answer #1)

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At Junior's Grandmother's wake, almost two thousand Indians show up, and they have to have the ceremony on the football field.  Junior is surprised and grateful that, on that day, no one gives him a hard time about leaving the reservation, not even Rowdy.  Sadly, Junior's sister Mary is not able to attend, but she promises to respect Grandmother in her own way, singing "one hundred mourning songs" in Montana.

Everyone has stories to tell about Grandmother.  About ten hours into the wake, a "billionaire white dude" named Ted steps forward.  The crowd groans inwardly as Ted proclaims how much he loves the Indian people, and explains how, as a long-time art collector, he came across "a very beautiful powwow dance outfit".  Although Ted had wanted to keep it for himself, his conscience had tormented him, so he hired an anthropologist to determine the origin of the costume.  The anthropologist had traced the outfit to Junior's Grandmother.  Magnanimously, he has brought the artifact today, to Grandmother's wake.

Junior's Mom steps forward and politely says that although Grandmother loved to go to powwows, she never danced, thus exposing Ted as a fraud.  Embarrassed, Ted packs up and hurries away, and for a few minutes, everyone is silent.  Then, suddenly Junior's Mom begins to laugh, and two thousands Indians join her.  Junior describes it as "the most glorious noise (he'd) ever heard", because "when it comes to death, (Indians) know that laughter and tears are pretty much the same thing" (Chapter 23).

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