ATDPTI- What DOES the Title Mean?

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian  by Sherman Alexie

I will be analyzing what the title means—>

The title of this book relates to many of the quotes in the book. One of the quotes is, “It was like being Indian was my job, but it was only a part-time job.” This quote shows that Junior feels like two people inside of one body; being an Indian is half, and his identity that goes to a white school, is the other part. When Junior decided to go to a “white school,” the Indians back on the reservation, where he lives with his family, didn’t like that he left the school on the “Rez,” (as Junior calls it, [short for reservation;]) they felt like Junior was betraying them.

When Junior is at Rearden, he gets called Arnold; when Arnold is on the Rez, he is called Junior. Confused? That sentence was supposed to confuse you, because it was supposed to show you how Junior feels; two people, two identities, trapped inside a single body.

The part of Junior that is a part-time Indian is the part of him that lives on the Rez and is always with his family.

As for my identities, (though I’m not sure I have any besides one,) I am different at home v.s. at school. As much as I enjoy being at home and relaxing, I find it hard to be without my friends. Honestly, I enjoy learning very much, and that is why I actually like school…besides the homework. My identity at home is more pulled back, or at least recently it has been, I don’t know why; it’s probably just me becoming a teenager…

I am different at home v.s. at school, but I don’t think those are two separate identities, because at home, I am just more of a repressed version of myself. Junior truly has to face having two identities, I don’t think I do.

Thanks for reading! 🙂 Please check out some of my other posts to get good reading suggestions. Feel free to comment below!

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