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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Who are the minor characters in The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian?

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Minor characters in literature are those who aid in the development of the story, but whose personal journeys are not part of the main point of the story.  In the novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian, minor characters would be characters like Mr. P and Gordy.  Mr. P is Junior's math teacher at school on the Spokane Indian Reservation.  Mr. P does not appear to be happy teaching, and Junior resents him for not providing the students with the proper education.  Mr. P later tells Junior that he must leave the reservation to find a better opportunity.  This is the last time that Mr. P is in the narrative--he is only present as a way to show the pitfalls of the reservation's school system and as a catalyst to prompt Junior to go to Reardan. 

Once Junior gets to Reardan, he meets Gordy who is also an outcast because he is overly mature and intelligent.  Junior befriends him and they share the role of outsiders.  Junior shares some important moments of adolescence with Gordy, yet the two never become as close as Junior and Rowdy.  Gordy's life is not a focus in the novel, so he remains a minor character.

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Name and describe the significant minor character of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian.  

Although there are a few other minor characters in The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, the one that I would consider to be most significant is Rowdy.  Rowdy graces this story to deal with the subject of disjointed friendship in regards to these fractured Native American lives.  Rowdy is friends with Junior, despite the fact that Rowdy has a very abusive father.  Both Rowdy's dad and Junior's dad share the tendency toward alcoholism except Rowdy's dad reacts violently with his booze while Junior's dad is always gentle (and often depressed).  Quite simply, Rowdy is a bully.  He is a big kid who releases his anger and frustration by beating people up.  Rowdy likes Junior, however, and spends a lot of time at his house.  Because of Junior's close relationship with Rowdy, no one beats Junior up.  Things begin to change within Junior's and Rowdy's friendship when Junior transfers to the white school.  Rowdy is incredibly disappointed, feeling as though Junior has left his Native American culture (as well as their friendship) in the dust.  Although the two are able to talk to each other, their friendship will never be the same. 

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