How does Arnold's views of the reservation and his own life differ in The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian?
The fundamental difference between Junior and the life he sees on the reservation lies his resistance to capitulate to such an existence. From the moment he rejects being taught out of a book from which his mother was taught, Junior defines himself against the life of the standard Native American who lives on the reservation. His intense disavowal of alcohol is another example of how Junior defines his life as fundamentally different from the Native American life lived on the rez. The fact that he goes to Reardon with White kids and a White community also represents how he will continue to define his own life on alternate terms. There is struggle for him in terms of academics and social, but as the narrative progresses, Junior seems more content accepting these struggles because they do not represent life on the reservation or life of the standard Native American. From his own experiences, Junior comes to associate such a life with a form of death, both physical and emotional. In order to avoid this, he takes the form opposite of his world, and while it is something that people like Rowdy cannot understand, Junior recognizes and gains solidity in grasping that his definition alternate to the reality in front of him is vitally important to his identity.