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
Start Free Trial

Why does Rowdy call Junior a nomad?

Rowdy calls Junior a nomad because Junior is leaving the reservation. Their ancestors were nomads, and Rowdy believes that that Junior retains these qualities deep in his soul. Although Rowdy is upset at the departure of his friend, he is coming to terms with its inevitability.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Toward the end of The Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Indian, Rowdy and Junior have a heart-to-heart conversation during a one-on-one basketball game, during which Rowdy calls Junior a nomad for leaving the Rez.

A nomad is a person with no fixed home location. Nomads travel from place...

See
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

Toward the end of The Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Indian, Rowdy and Junior have a heart-to-heart conversation during a one-on-one basketball game, during which Rowdy calls Junior a nomad for leaving the Rez.

A nomad is a person with no fixed home location. Nomads travel from place to place, often in accordance with seasonal changes. Junior and Rowdy's ancestors were nomads before the government forced their people to become sedentary and live on reservations. In fact, Rowdy has been learning about the nomadic ways of his ancestors. By calling Junior a nomad, Rowdy is alluding to their heritage. Like his nomadic ancestors, Junior is traveling from place to place. Rowdy points out that most Indians have given up their nomadic past by preferring to live on the reservations. Junior, on the other hand, retains nomadic qualities in his soul. Rowdy tells Junior that he will always be a nomad, traveling from place to place his whole life. That's just who Junior is.

Although he cultivates a tough-guy persona, Rowdy has a sensitive side as well as abandonment issues. He is hurt that his good friend is leaving him and the Rez. At the same time, he understands that Junior is following in the footsteps of past generations of Indians. By calling Junior a nomad, Rowdy has come to accept the reality that Junior is not meant to stay on the reservation forever.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on