Junior and Penelope discuss their dreams. What does Junior think of Penelope´s dreams? In what ways are their dreams alike? What are their chances of making them come true?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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On some levels, Junior identifies with of what Penelope speaks in terms of her dreams.  Junior understands what Penelope talks about in terms of "building something beautiful."  She wishes to get out and see the world. In many respects, Junior understands this because this was his motivation in wanting to leave the Rez.  At the same time, when Junior sees Penelope's bulimic ways, he offers her the same support he offers to his father when he drinks.  Junior understands the debilitating effects that the present can have on dreams.  He sees this in Penelope and recognizes it in his own life.  This is where Junior sees parallels between his dreams and Penelope's.

In terms of making them come true, I think that Junior is not necessarily at that point of reflection.  Junior struggles with the fact that he idolizes Penelope.  He views her in an exalted light because she is a part of his dream.  One of the major elements to emerge from the discussion of Junior and Penelope is that he idolizes her to such an extent that he might not see her as a real person.  Junior's relationship with Penelope contains some challenging elements regarding race, but moreover it views her as almost more than human because she is White and he is not. When Junior speaks of her "whiteness," it reflects a preoccupation with race to such an extent that Junior might not be able to fully authenticate her own dreams. Junior understands her dreams, but might not be able to fully envision them coming true because of the condition of race that limits his dreams and not really inhibits hers.  This lack of understanding also happens on an existential level.  Penelope sees Reardan as limiting to her dreams.  Junior cannot relate to this because Reardan is to him what she views Stanford and architecture to be.  It is in this light where Junior might have some level of challenge relating to Penelope's dreams coming true because his, to an extent, already has.  His accomplishment represents a point of departure for her, and this is where it might be challenging to for him to see her dreams coming true.  The narrative does not enable us to see her dreams coming true, primarily because the "absolutely true" element focuses on Junior's propensity for success.

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