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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Are there any hyperboles related to Junior's identity in The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian?

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Hyperbole is a type of figurative language that involves using exaggerated terms, rather than literal descriptors, to convey the great emotion or importance of a topic or feature. In the novel The Absolutely True Diary of A Part-Time Indian, the narrator, Junior, often employs hyperbole when talking about his identity and his experiences. To start off, the title of the book itself presents a form of hyperbole. The phrase "absolutely true" is hyperbolic and in itself suggests that the book may contain some exaggerations.

On page 11, Junior writes, "I can’t blame my parents for our poverty because my mother and father are the twin suns around which I orbit and my world would EXPLODE without them." Here, we have an example of figurative language and hyperbole. Junior's parents are not literally twin suns, and his world would not literally "EXPLODE" without them, but the exaggerated, descriptive language serves to stress the deep importance of Junior's parents to his identity and his world.

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Junior uses many hyperboles to describe himself and his identity. He says that he was so skinny as a small child that "I'd turn sideways and disappear." He also describes his feet as so big that, given his big feet and skinny body, "I looked like a capital L walking down the road." He states that his head is so big that other kids' heads orbited around it, much as planets orbit around the sun. He describes himself as "the biggest retard in the world" because he has a stutter and a lisp at age 14. Though these descriptions may in part be based in reality, Junior describes himself in an exaggerated way, using hyperboles. The reader is supposed to understand that Junior's self-descriptions are exaggerations and are not strictly true. 

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