In The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, what is Junior's biggest conflict? Does he ever solve this conflict? If so, how?

Expert Answers
jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Junior's most important conflict is how to get a decent education while remaining connected to his family and friends on the reservation. Junior attends school in Reardan, a white town, because he knows the school system is better there, but he feels disconnected from life on the reservation and from the white people in Reardan. In addition, Rowdy, his best friend, is angry at Junior because he feels Junior has abandoned him. 

Part of the way Junior resolves this conflict is by no longer telling lies to the white kids in Reardan. Junior admits to Penelope, his girlfriend, that he's poor. Junior is surprised by her response: "I figured she was going to march out of my life right then. But she didn't. Instead she kissed me." Junior realizes, "If you let people into your life a little bit, they can be pretty damn amazing." In other words, he realizes that by telling the truth to the kids in Reardan, he can really befriend them and bridge the gulf between them. In the end, Junior is also able to reconcile with Rowdy because they realize that they still have a lot in common, such as shared memories and a love of basketball. Rowdy also tells Junior that he is like "an old-time nomad," which is respected in Native American tradition. That is Rowdy's way of saying that he respects Junior for going to school in Reardan, and the conflict between them is over. 

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question