Analysis Of The Absolutely True Diary Of A Part-Time Indian '

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The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is a fictional novel inspired by the life events of author Sherman Alexie. The novel is about a poor Indian named Arnold who lives on a reservation and feels petrified by the idea that he is destined to remain there forever, just like his family. However, he is hopeful about one day having a life outside of the reservation, and believes he will have a better chance of escaping by attending Reardan, the all-White school off the reservation. His new life at Reardan proves to be a difficult transition marked by racism from his peers. The novel uses Arnold’s experiences to comment on the social issues between Indians and White people. Through Arnold’s narrative, the reader is offered insight about the history of reservations and the quality of life for Indians who live on them, as well as the challenges of integrating into a White society.
Arnold and his family live on an impoverished reservation with limited means for improvement. Indians on the reservation are at a higher risk of earlier death compared to White communities because they have less access to basic healthcare and social service resources. Arnold brings awareness to the severity of the situation when he addresses the alcohol epidemic on the reservation. He says he has been to forty-two funerals, and “90 percent of the deaths have been because of alcohol” (Alexie 200). “That’s really the biggest difference between Indians and White people” (Alexie 199). He compares
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