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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Essay Topics


Near the beginning of the novel, Junior asks his parents “who has the most hope?” and his parents respond, “white people” (45). Similarly, Mr. P tells Junior he’ll find more hope the further he gets away from the reservation. Junior, however, says “I don’t know if hope is white” (51). Discuss the nature of hope in Absolutely True Diary, considering how it relates to race and white privilege. What gives Junior hope? Does he have more of it by the end of the novel? What role does Whiteness play, if any?


Junior’s father goes on a drinking bender, and when he returns, he gives Junior his last five dollars as a Christmas present. Junior describes the gift as a “beautiful and ugly thing.” What does Junior mean by this? What else is Absolutely True Diary might be considered “beautiful and ugly”?


Junior’s relationship with the Reservation is complicated and often contradictory. At times, the reservation seems like a place of despair, yet other times it seems a place of love and great joy. How has the reservation shaped the way Junior sees the world, and how does his relationship to it change and grow?