Archive for the ‘Interpretation’ Category

Rowdy is Junior’s best friend in the book “The absoulutely true diary of a Part-Time Indian” written by Sherman Alexie. Rowdy is punched by his father, but nevertheless he is very helpful to other people, especially to Junior because he always protects him. That is shown very clearly in the following phrase: “Come on! I’ll protect you!” (p.31, l.1). On page 32 you can see Rowdy is really brave, because he takes revenge on the Andruss brothers for hitting Junior. Rowdy’s courage is also shown clearly when he climbs the high pine tree without even being scared of falling. But Rowdy can also be very impulsive. That is made clear in his statement:”I’m going to kill those bastards!” (p.32, l.1). In the chapter “Rowdy sings the blues” (page 63 in line 21) you can see that Rowdy is moody, too. You notice that when he first starts crying and is sad and on page 64 in line 8 he gets angry and punches Junior for going to another school. Junior’s best friend can also be funny. You can say that because he often makes jokes. But Rowdy is very unemotional. It is hard for him to show feelings and he never cries, e.g. when Junior wants to leave the school.

In conclusion, one can say Rowdy is a very good person but he often also shows his “bad” sides which are probably because of the fact Rowdy’s father punches him.


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At the very beginning of the novel, Rowdy is the best and only friend of Junior. Junior is very dependent on Rowdy because he protects him. Furthermore, Junior can tell Rowdy every secret and problem he has and Rowdy keeps it a secret. He visits Junior very often because his father is often drunk and he beats him regularly. Rowdy is very important to Junior. He even says, Rowdy might be the most important person in his life.

And when Junior tells Rowdy that he wants to leave the reservation and go to school in Reardan, Rowdy first starts crying. But then, the state of their friendship suffers because he gets very mad and he beats him three times. Rowdy starts hating Junior for leaving the reservation. That is when he knows that his best friend has become his worst enemy. Although he goes to school in Reardan, it is very hard for Junior because he has no one to talk to and he is very lonely. On Thanksgiving, Junior misses Rowdy so much, that he draws a cartoon for him and gives it to him. When Rowdy receives it, he watches Junior walking away and Junior realises that Rowdy misses him, too. One day, when he needs advise from Rowdy about love, he writes Rowdy an E-Mail and asks him what to do. But Rowdy just writes back that Junior should get a life. So he is still mad and can not understand why Junior has left the reservation. Then, at his first basketball game against Wellpinit, we can also see that Rowdy still hates Junior and has not forgiven him yet. Rowdy smashes his elbow into Junior’s head, although he knows that his head is already damaged. Later, at his sister’s funeral, Rowdy is crying in the woods. Junior tries to comfort him but he does not allow Junior to comfort him. He even wants to beat Junior but he mísses on purpose and tells Junior that it was Junior’s fault that Mary died. After that, he runs away.

At the beginning of the summer holidays, Rowdy visits Junior and he is very surprised. Rowdy tells Junior, that he still hates him but is bored. So they play basketball. After a while, Rowdy explains to Junior that he is a nomad because he is going to travel everywhere when he is older. He also tells him that it is ok and he thinks it is pretty cool. So in the end, Rowdy and Junior are really good friends again. (RA, JG, LF, JN)

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Junior first goes to the Wellpinnit school on the rez and then (after a teacher has given him the advice) he changes the school and goes to school in Reardan, a town full of white people near the rez. In his old school nobody, except for Rowdy, liked him, so he was an outsider. In his new school he first was an outsider too, but later gets more attention. He makes a few new friends in his class. His teachers do make his life easier on both schools. And on the new school he gets a semi-girlfriend named Penelope, somthing he did not have at Wellpinnit. At both schools he plays basketball, but on Reardan you can also play baseball or volleyball. His new basketball team is better than the Wellpinnit one. The new Reardean school also has a better PC-room than Wellpinnit. On Wellpinnit Junior drew a lot, but on Reardan he does not draw that often anymore.

His change to a new school was overall much better for Junior because he becomes happier, is not bullied, makes new friends and gets a girlfriend. But on the rez he is bullied more than before and he loses his best friend Rowdy. The Indians call him an apple because they think he is red on the outside (because of the Indian skin), but white on the inside because he has left the rez and likes the whites. So Junior feels split into two pieces, because he has two different lives, one on the rez and one in Reardan. On the rez he is bullied and called bad names, but in Reardan everyone likes him and he is respected.

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Some passages in the novel made us think about what people are able to do when they are drunk. Rowdy is always punched by his father, especially when he is drunk. So Rowdy´s father is is not able to control his own body and he is very violent. Because of those punches, Rowdy has to suffer very much. While he suffers among those tortures by his father, he also develops a furious mind. He releases that fury on other people. His mood is always bad because of his father. Rowdy just punches people because he is punched. He just takes those chances to punch people as an exit for his fury. Rowdy seems to be used to be punched by his father, so he only learned to punch others. You can not talk about an advantage when you get drunk. You are not able to control your own body and you also do things you usually would not to do when you are sober. For the one who is drunk everything seems perfect but for the people in your surrounding you can be very harmful.


What Junior might think:   “We are so freaking poor that we don’t even have enough money for those new damn books. What are we allowed to use instead of the new ones? Yes right the ones which are about 30 years old. I am going to explode…..WOAHH! ”         

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Arnold Spirit Jr., nicknamed Junior, is a fourteen-year-old boy who lives on the Spokane Indian Reservation in Washington, USA. He was born on 5th November 1992 at Sacred Heart Hospital in Spokane. He has had a lot of physical problems, which he calls “water on the brain”, since he was born. One of them is that he has seizures. He has a stutter and a lisp, which makes him “the biggest retard in the world”. Another thing is that he has a singsong reservation accent which turns everything he says into a bad poem.

Arnold has an enormous skull, huge hands and feet but in contrast to that his body is very skinny. He says he looks like an “vegetable”. On his head he wears thick, black und ugly glasses. Additionally, his eyes are lopsided. Because of his special appearance he is often bullied. That is why he is often lonely, hangs out alone and thinks of himself as weak, invisible and unable to fight back physically. Because of that he has not much self-confidence.

But he can be proud of himself. Junior is incredibly smart and transfers from an all-Indian school to an all-white school. He keeps up his hope by reading books and drawing cartoons, which to him represent both a chance to leave the reservation and a potential for universal understanding. He also loves playing basketball, where he discovers an unexpected talent when he joins the Reardan basketball team as a great shooter.

Junior and his family, along with the others on the reservation have to deal with poverty. That is something he really hates, to be poor. Like most of the other members of the tribe Arnold has grown up impoverished and surrounded by alcoholism.

All in all, Arnold Spirit is a “warrior”, a smart, brave, highly committed boy who has been fighting since he was born.

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Junior’s school life at Wellpinit is totally different from his school life at Reardan. Wellpinit high school is very poor so they just have books, which are almost thirty years old. Furthermore, they have unqualificated teachers and no discipline. At Reardan high school they have strict rules, a school constitution and every student has his own ID. For Junior, Reardan is the opposite of his life on the reservation. The students at Reardan are the best for him. They are smart, beautiful, epic, have expensive clothes, a bright future and are filled with hope. They are actually the opposite of Junior. At both schools Junior is bullied by the others. But there is a great difference. At Wellpinit it was normal to fight with the ones who insult him. But at Reardan the guys just fight with words. At the reservation Junior did not have many friends but one good friend, Rowdy, at Reardan it is easier to make new friends, because they are more politr and they have the same interests. But after Junior has decided to go to Reardan he is not longer accepted as an Indian, they think he is a traitor and they treat him like that, like an outcast. At Reardan that is a bit different, the whites do not hate him or maltreat him, they just do not care and ignore him until he gets popular because of basketball and Penelope .

To come to the end of the interpretation we would say that Junior likes his school life at Reardan more than at Wellpinit, because there are people around him who are dreamers just like him, who have not lost their hope yet, and  because he has a chance of a better life than his parentes. It takes some time but after a while at Reardan Junior is respected just like he is.

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Today, most Native Americans live in so called reservations. These are big areas, which were given to them 200 years ago.Today there are still 300 reservations in the USA. Living there is often hard. The reasons are that most of the people have not got a job and farming is not possible because the ground is barren. Nowadays they do not live any more in Tipis, they mostly live in shanties or in prefabricated houses.

A lot of the Native Americans leave the reservations in the morning and go to work in the cities close by, then they come back in the evening. They have to do that because it is hard to find jobs in the reservation. But it is also hard outside because there are many prejudices against them. Many of the Indians have to starve because of poverty. That means they only can eat one meal per day or less.

We think that the reasons for poverty in the reservations are that there is no real economy and it is not possible to farm there. It is also not really easy to expand the industry because the people in these areas do not have enough money and no investor from the outside would give them some. Everything starts in their childhood because the education in these zones is very bad, for example they do not learn how to read or how to write. That causes that the students get bad jobs and no scholarships, so the vicious circle starts again.

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