The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
How we cite our quotes:
"You were right to throw that book at me. I deserved to get smashed in the face for what I've done to Indians. Every white person on this rez should get smashed in the face. But, let me tell you this. All the Indians should get smashed in the face, too."
I was shocked. Mr. P was furious.
"The only thing you kids are being taught is how to give up." (5.149-5.151)
Mr. P blames himself for failing the kids, but he also blames the families of the children. Mr. P is upset because he believes the kids are being taught to give up at school and at home.
"Listen," he said one afternoon in the library. "You have to read a book three times before you know it. The first time you read it for the story. The plot. The movement from scene to scene that gives the book its momentum, its rhythm. It's like riding a raft down a river. You're just paying attention to the currents. Do you understand that?"
"Not at all," I said.
"Yes, you do," he said.
"Okay, I do," I said. I really didn't, but Gordy believed in me. He wouldn't let me give up. (12.174-12.177)
In this scene Gordy is teaching Arnold how to read a book. What are the other steps Gordy describes? What is the difference between Gordy as a teacher and Mr. P as a teacher? Why is it so significant that Gordy believes in Arnold?
"There are three thousand four hundred and twelve books here," Gordy said. "I know that because I counted them."
"Okay, now you're officially a freak," I said.
"Yes, it's a small library. It's a tiny one. But if you read one of these books a day, it would still take you almost ten years to finish."
"What's your point?"
"The world, even the smallest parts of it, is filled with things you don't know."
Wow. That was a huge idea.
Any town, even one as small as Reardan, was a place of mystery. And that meant Wellpinit, that smaller, Indian town, was also a place of mystery. (12.199-12.205)
Gordy, the boy genius and resident know-it-all, takes it upon himself to expand Arnold's ideas about knowledge. By taking him the library, Gordy shows Arnold just how much there is in the world that he doesn't know. The world becomes a huge place filled with knowledge, with mystery, and with things to learn.