The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
How we cite our quotes:
And I kept trying to find the little pieces of joy in my life. That's the only way I managed to make it through all of that death and change. (24.72)
To cope with the deaths of his loved ones and to bring joy back into his life, Arnold makes a series of lists of all of the things he loves most in this world (see Chapter 24). They are things that bring him joy. What would be on your lists?
I'm fourteen years old and I've been to forty-two funerals.
That's really the biggest difference between Indians and white people.
A few of my white classmates have been to a grandparent's funeral. And a few have lost an uncle or aunt. And one guy's brother died of leukemia when he was in third grade.
But there's nobody who has been to more than five funerals.
All my white friends can count their deaths on one hand.
I can count my fingers, toes, arms, legs, eyes, ears, nose, penis, butt cheeks, and nipples, and still not get close to my deaths.
And you know what the worst part is? The unhappy part? About 90 percent of the deaths have been because of alcohol. (27.4-27.10)
We agree with Arnold that 42 funerals is pretty high number for a fourteen year old. The reservation is a place associated with multiple, senseless, alcohol-related deaths, most of which did not have to happen.
"They had a party," my father said. "And your sister and her husband passed out in the back bedroom. And somebody tried to cook some soup on a hot plate. And they forgot about it and left. And a curtain drifted in on the wind and caught the hot plate, and the trailer burned down quick."
I swear to you that I could hear my sister screaming.
"The police say your sister never even woke up," my father said. "She was way too drunk."
My dad was trying to comfort me. But it's not too comforting to learn that your sister was TOO FREAKING DRUNK to feel any pain when she BURNED TO DEATH! (27.85-27.88)
As he has so many times before, Arnold loses someone he loves to a terrible alcohol-related accident. But, why Mary? Didn't she leave the reservation? Why could she not escape the same fate as so many of her loved ones?