Discuss how Junior has changed and how he has remained the same.Discuss how Junior has changed and how he has remained the same.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that working backwards might be a good approach here in assessing Junior and his changes.  The ending reflects much about his state of being in the world.  The one- on- one basketball game with Rowdy at the end with no score kept is an example of changes and some constants being present.  Junior is still friends with Rowdy, yet their relationship has changed with Junior's attendance at Reardan.  Junior is an equal to Rowdy, something that was not as present in the beginning of the narrative.  Junior has also changed in that he and Rowdy recognize his need to leave the Reservation, something that was not a part of Junior's composition at the start of the novel.  Essentially, Junior has changed because he fully understands the complexity of being Indian and of being a "part- time Indian."  This involves aspects of his character such as his insight into what pains the Indians, what gives them strength, and where their power and lack of lies.  He has learned to appropriate these elements into his own personality, as opposed to simply being dictated as to what he will be.  The fact that Junior still is a feeling kid, one who understands the pain of others and seeks social solidarity is something that has not changed.  In the end, being a "part time Indian" involves finding some constants in the personality that has changed in the course of the novel.

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