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Indian History Embedded in a Young Boy’s Diary

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie is a cleverly written novel that underlies many aspects about stigma, poverty, and violence among Native Americans. Arnold Spirit, Jr. is often bullied by his peers due to his medical conditions. The stigma placed upon individuals with medical issues is emphasized through how Arnold is treated by members of his community. In regards to poverty, Native Americans living on their Indian reservation are limited in the amount of wealth and material goods they own. Due to the general poverty Arnold’s family endured, he was prevented from attended school at times, as could be seen with the cartoon on page 174. In addition, the issue of alcoholism among Indians comes into light. They have been killed in masses by settlers during the colonial times and have died in high numbers through many disease epidemics, but alcoholism has remained a big problem among these people. Native American drinking problem has been examined to be due to their cultural situation and not because they fit into racial group. The unhappiness the Indian community face lead many to drink and eventually to their own deaths or the deaths of innocent others. Overall, Indian history is embedded into this account of an ‘absolutely true’ story. The differences between Indians and Whites are evident through the experiences of Junior/Arnold.

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