81 pages 2 hours read

Sherman Alexie

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Fiction | Novel | YA | Published in 2007

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Chapters 22-24Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 22 Summary: “Red Versus White”

Junior says he hasn’t fallen completely in love with White people; that he still sees good in Indians. He loves his sister, his grandmother and his parents. Even though his dad has a drinking problem and his mom is eccentric, his parents listen to him. He compares them to absent parents at Reardan, especially fathers, who are present but inattentive.

For Junior, the best thing about Reardan is Penelope and Gordy, and the best thing about Wellpinit is his grandmother because she’s tolerant, embodying the “old-time Indian spirit” by embracing people’s differences (155). She thought it was a great idea for Junior to go to Reardan. She was powwow famous, Junior says, and then he reveals that she was walking home from a mini powwow when she was hit and killed by a drunk driver.

At the hospital, the surgeon tells Junior’s family that Grandmother Spirit’s last words were “forgive him,” in reference to the driver who killed her, a Spokane Indian named Gerald. Gerald serves 18 months in prison and then moves to a reservation in California. Ironically, Grandmother Spirit never drank alcohol because she wanted to be alert to the world around her, with all her senses intact.