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The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

by Sherman Alexie
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What is a direct quotation from the book The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian that shows the protagonist's most dominant personality trait in action?

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Junior is tenacious, strong-willed, and resourceful, but the personality trait that makes all of these positive features possible is his capacity to recognize and question the assumptions people take up in the world. Moreover, he is able to apply this critical lens to conceptual registers spanning the economic, social, and political. For example, in chapter 2 ("Why Chicken Means So Much to Me"), he states,

Poverty doesn’t give you strength or teach you lessons about perseverance. No, poverty only teaches you how to be poor.

Here, Junior questions the powerful capitalist social and literary trope of poverty being a constructive force. Coming directly from his experience and the experiences of his other impoverished family members on the Indian reservation, he rejects this trope and its normalizing justification of poverty, pointing to its lack of an empirical backbone. Valuing empirical and qualitative evidence over dogmatic metaphor, he asserts that poverty is a social ill that only begets more social ill.

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Junior's most dominant personality trait, arguably, is his ability to persevere in spite of great adversity. He does not lose his sense of hope, and his hope for a better future drives him to make difficult decisions. For example, in the fourth chapter of the novel, Junior throws his book at his math teacher, Mr. P, when he realizes his mother had been one of the previous owners of the book. The educational system on the reservation is so under-funded that it cannot afford to buy updated books for the students, and Junior thinks this treatment is unfair. He does not necessarily want to hurt Mr. P, but Junior, in that moment, sees Mr. P as representative of a failed educational system. In the following chapter, Mr. P visits Junior and acknowledges Junior's perseverance and his inner sense of hope:

"But not you," Mr. P said. "You can't give up. You won't give up. You threw that book in my face because somewhere inside you refuse to give up" (43).

In this situation with Mr. P, readers see Junior's most dominant personality trait in action.

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