Junior’s Main Conflict

In the book The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian, written by Sherman Alexi, Arnold Spirit is a fourteen year old Indigenous boy who moves to an all white school in hopes of receiving a better education. Junior faces issues with Indigenous stereotypes surrounding his cultural identity. As a result, they aren’t treated equally, and they have poor education. This conflict results in poverty, bullying, and racism. After Junior leaves the reservation, he receives hate and discouragement from his fellow tribe members. They believe that “because you’re Indian […] you’re destined to be poor”, and that “there’s nothing you can do about it” (13), but Junior defies those stereotypes and they become jealous. They feel the need to physically and mentally hurt Junior, so that he will feel the same pain that they do. Stereotypes internally conflicts Junior because he feels the need to meet and exceed expectations. “The kids and parents at Reardan [thinks he has] a lot of money”, and Junior does “nothing to change their minds” (119). He is trying to live up to their expectations, because he wants to seem as if he has money so that he can fit in. The citizens of Reardan also believe he “[doesn’t] deserve to be there. [They know] it; all of [Reardan’s] kids knew it” (56). Junior wants to prove them wrong because he is “carrying the burden of [his] race” (43). He is representing the Indigenous population, and he wants to eliminate those stereotypes for the benefit of his people.

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