The Absolutely True Story Of A Part Time Indian By Sherman Alexie

1361 Words6 Pages
Imagine being in quicksand, unable to get yourself out. Scared to death of suffocation. That is how poverty can impact people. It can last much longer than ten minutes, but a lifetime. The cycle does not just stop there, it is common for it to be generational. Does poverty have the ability to define a person? Poverty and personal identity can go hand in hand. In The Absolutely True Story of a Part-time Indian, Sherman Alexie describes the devastating effects poverty has on an individual’s identity. Poverty has lasted in Arnold’s family for generations, it has proven to create many obstacles time and time again for him. Being poor drastically affects Arnold’s basic needs of survival, it infringes the joy he has in his life, and constantly reminds him what it is like to be a Native American on the Spokane Indian Reservation. This all, in return, impacts Arnold’s sense of self.

Poverty hurts Arnold’s basic means of survival. He describes how his drawing talents won’t get him what he truly needs, “my cartoons will never take the place of food or money. I wish I could draw a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, or a fist full of twenty dollar bills, and perform some magic trick and make it real” (Alexie 7). The desire to have money appear from his drawings is understandable, who wouldn’t want that? The alarming part of his statement is his want for just a basic peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Those are generally cheap items to purchase at a grocery store, but Arnold is
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