© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian


by Sherman Alexie

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian Theme of Education

Reardan High School is a wonderland of chemistry labs, brand new basketball courts, and computer labs. The place is a regular learning hotspot. Arnold leaves the reservation to get a better education in Reardan, but, as we find out, the things that he needs to learn aren't always found in those fancy classrooms. In The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, so much of what Arnold learns has simply to do with attitude. From Gordy, the Reardan brainiac, Arnold learns about the joys that knowledge can bring. From Coach, the head of basketball at Reardan, Arnold learns about the power of positive thinking – and how a simple phrase ("you can do it") can completely change who you are. Why could Arnold not learn these things at his high school in Wellpinit?

Questions About Education

  1. Why doesn't Junior want to use his mother's geometry book? Why does he throw the book at Mr. P?
  2. Why does Mr. P tell Junior to leave the reservation?
  3. What does it mean to "kill the Indian to save the child" (5.40)?
  4. How is Gordy important to Arnold's education? What does Gordy teach Arnold?
  5. What does Arnold learn from his basketball coach at Reardan?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

A good education opens the door to great opportunity.

The most important part of Arnold's education at Reardan is that he learns to believe in himself. He learns not to give up.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...