In The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Billionaire Ted makes Junior both angry and uncomfortable. Why?

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

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Another thing that makes Junior feel angry and uncomfortable around Billionaire Ted is his extreme wealth. This is what annoys Junior most: the lavish wealth that he has. Note how, as Ted tells his story, Junior punctuates it at various moments with his own thoughts and ironic comments. For example, when Ted says he can "always smell a thief," Junior responds in his own thoughts with "Smell yourself, Ted." In the same way, when Ted talks about his Montana cabin, note what Junior thinks:

Mansion, Ted, it's a mansion. Go ahead; you can say it: MANSION!

The repetition of the word "mansion" and also the way it is capitalized in the last instance conveys just how uncomfortable and angry Billionaire Ted makes Junior because of his excessive wealth, which, reading between the lines, makes Ted feel he can buy and purchase Indian culture and traditions.

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accessteacher's profile pic

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

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What makes Ted such an uncomfortable figure is that he is a figure like many others who claims to have a fascination with Indian culture and who claims to "love Indian people SOOOOOO much." Note how Ted says this himself in the following quote:

I know you've heard that before. I know white people say that all the time. But I still need to say it. I love Indians. I love your songs, your dances, and your souls. And I love your art. I collect your art.

What makes Junior uncomfortable about Ted is the way that he views Indians as objects, as cultural curiosities, and as consumable items: a hobby that he can spend his money on. It is this attitude that he has towards Indians, particularly with regard to money, that makes Junior both angry and uncomfortable about him. He rejects Ted's particular viewpoint that would have his identity and his tribe's identity viewed as nothing more than a cultural curiosity by the very people who destroyed his tribe in the first place. 

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