How does being a cartoonist help Junior socially and emotionally in The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian?

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teachertaylor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Being a cartoonist helps Junior deal with the complex problems that he faces in his life on the reservation and at Reardon.  In the first chapter of the novel, Junior introduces himself to the reader and draws images of himself to describe himself to his audience.  Junior says that no matter what language a person speaks, he or she can understand a drawing because images are a common human means of communication.  He says that pictures allow him to say what words cannot.  Therefore, Junior's being a cartoonist allows him to express himself in ways that words cannot.  Throughout the story, Junior's drawings range from immature sketches (throwing the book at Mr. P) to sophisticated images (his drawing of Penelope) and the differences in style provide insight on Junior's feelings at the time of the drawing.  Junior copes with these feelings through the medium of art.

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