What did Junior's parents want for themselves growing up in The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian?

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litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Junior’s parents wanted to be other than poor.

Junior describes how very poor his family is, and how his parents were never wealthy.

My parents came from poor people who came from poor people who came from poor people, all the way back to the first poor people. (ch 2, p. 11)

Despite this, he says, his parents “had their dreams when they were kids” (p. 11).  He says that his mother would have gone to college if she had the chance, and still read all the time, but his parents’ dreams did not come true because no one ever paid any attention to their dreams.

Junior, on the other hand, has a chance.  He pays attention to his parents’ dreams, and his own dreams.  He decides to go to school off the reservation, in order to make a better life for himself.  This causes him to struggle with his own identity, however, because he is a part-time Indian.  He has to fit in both places, and neither completely accepts him.

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