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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

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian Literature and Writing Quotes

How we cite our quotes: Citations for the text follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph); for art and illustrations: (Chapter.Illustration)

Quote #1

I draw all the time.

I draw cartoons of my mother and father; my sister and grandmother; my best friend, Rowdy; and everybody else on the rez.

I draw because words are two unpredictable.

I draw because words are too limited.

If you speak and write in English, or Spanish, or Chinese, or any other language, then only a certain percentage of human beings will get your meaning.

But when you draw a picture, everybody can understand it.

If I draw a cartoon of a flower, then every man, woman, and child in the world can look at it and say, "That's a flower." (1.44-1.50)

Arnold has a lisp and a stutter, so words prove a bit difficult for him when spoken. We find here that he even prefers drawing to writing, mainly because more people can understand him. Why might Arnold want as many people as possible to understand him?

Quote #2

I think the world is a series of broken dams and floods, and my cartoons are tiny little lifeboats. (1.56)

Arnold uses a great image to describe his cartoons. He sees them as "tiny little lifeboats." How are Arnold's cartoons like real-life lifeboats? What can they save him from? Where might they take him?

Quote #3

But before you think Rowdy is only good for revenge, and kicking the shit out of minivans, raindrops, and people, let me tell you something sweet about him: he loves comic books.

But not the cool superhero ones like Daredevil or X-Men. No, he reads the goofy old ones, like Richie Rich and Archie and Casper the Friendly Ghost. Kid stuff. He keeps them hidden in a hole in the wall of his bedroom closet. Almost every day, I'll head over to his house and we'll read those comics together. (3.114-3.115)

Comic books are very important to Rowdy, but not the superhero ones with all the tough-guys flying around in capes. Rowdy likes the sweet and cute comics like Casper the Friendly Ghost. Why would such a tough-guy read something so warm and fuzzy? What do comic books give Rowdy that he's missing in his real life?

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