illustration of main character, Junior, holding a basketball and looking over his shoulder

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

by Sherman Alexie

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In the novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian, how was the relationship between Junior and his father?

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Junior and his father have a generally good relationship. Junior's father is supportive of most of Junior's activities and does what he can to help him with the transition to his new school. This support is essential to Junior's decision to take a risk and transfer out of the reservation...

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Junior and his father have a generally good relationship. Junior's father is supportive of most of Junior's activities and does what he can to help him with the transition to his new school. This support is essential to Junior's decision to take a risk and transfer out of the reservation school. Junior also has a high opinion of his fathers abilities and intelligence, showing in his artwork that he believes his father would have been a very successful musician if he did not live on the reservation.

Junior is very aware of the limitations that the poverty of the reservation placed on his father and understands that these limitations are partly responsible for the alcoholism his father suffers from. While Junior is unhappy about his father's alcoholism and worries for him, they do have a good relationship.

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In The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian, Junior and his father have a strong relationship, although Junior worries about his father's battle with alcohol.  Junior recognizes that his parents are not living the lives they had dreamed, and in an early chapter, Junior draws a picture of who his parents would have been if they had been able to follow their dreams.  Junior's father would have become a musician.  However, the hardships on the reservation have created a different path for Junior's parents, and his father resorts to alcohol abuse to cope with the difficulties he faces such as lack of opportunity and low income.  When Junior goes to Reardan, he often worries that his father will get drunk and forget to come pick him up from school (and sometimes he does forget).  Yet despite Junior's concern over his father's alcoholism, Junior and his father remain close mainly because his father supports him and his efforts.  When Junior announces that he wants to go to Reardan for a better education, his father is happy that Junior wants to take this risky step, knowing that many Indians on the reservation will brand him a traitor for leaving the school at Wellpinit.  Junior's father makes the commitment of driving him the 20+ miles to and from school when he is able.  So through this sense of understanding, Junior and his father are able to maintain a strong relationship.

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