The notion of the hyphenated American lies at the heart of Alexie's work. Junior feels as if he is not completely immersed in either the Native American world or the White setting. This raises an interesting issue of social constructs of identity as well as the notion of adolescence. On one hand, Junior can be seen as a symbol of the hyphenated American- one who straddles multiple worlds of experience and narrative scope. Along these lines, the idea of adolescence is another level of the hyphenated persona. Junior's exploration of self and identity is a critical theme in the work. Adolescence is depicted as a time when individuals begin the process of analyzing one's notion of self and their place amongst others, another theme of the novel.