The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie is a coming-of-age story that follows the life of Arnold Spirit Jr., a Native American teenager living on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Throughout the novel, Arnold faces numerous challenges as he navigates the complexities of adolescence and struggles with issues of identity, poverty, and discrimination.
In the first few chapters of the novel, we are introduced to Arnold and his difficult life on the reservation. He suffers from hydrocephalus, a condition that has left him with a large head and numerous physical and cognitive challenges. Despite these challenges, Arnold is a resilient and determined young man who refuses to let his disabilities hold him back.
One of the major themes of the novel is the struggles that Arnold faces as a result of living in poverty on the reservation. He and his family are poor and struggling to make ends meet, and Arnold often goes without basic necessities such as warm clothing and proper medical care. This poverty also affects his education, as the school on the reservation is underfunded and unable to provide the same quality of education as the white schools off the reservation.
Despite these challenges, Arnold is determined to succeed and make a better life for himself. He decides to leave the reservation and attend an all-white high school off the reservation, a decision that is met with criticism and animosity from both his community and the white students at the school. Arnold faces discrimination and racism at the new school, but he remains determined and works hard to excel academically and make new friends.
Throughout the novel, Arnold grapples with issues of identity as he tries to find his place in the world. As a Native American living in a predominantly white society, he often feels caught between two cultures and unsure of where he belongs. He faces discrimination and racism from both sides, and struggles to find his own sense of identity and pride in his heritage.
In the end, Arnold emerges as a stronger and more confident young man who has learned valuable lessons about perseverance, resilience, and the importance of finding one's own path in life. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is a powerful and moving tale that speaks to the universal struggles of adolescence and the importance of following one's dreams, no matter how difficult the journey may be.