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The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian


by Sherman Alexie

Character Clues

Character Analysis


Arnold spends a lot of time deciding who he is: Arnold or Junior? Does he act like he's an Indian or has he somehow become white (on the inside)? These designations change depending on the situation, which suggest that one's ethnic or racial identity can change.

While Arnold is an Indian by birth, his own people treat him like a traitor. By the end of the novel, Arnold has figured out other ways to determine his identity. Arnold has defined himself as someone who belongs not to one or two, but many different tribes.


Money makes the world go round, and if you have it, then you have hope. If you don't have money, then you're very much out of luck.

The town of Reardan has the best school because they have the most resources and highest income. Wellpinit is a place of poverty and low expectations, and as such, none of the students will be going to college. How does Arnold deal with this situation? Do you think the economic differences between Reardan and Wellpinit will ever be remedied?