| Quote #1
I ran away from there as fast as I could.
I wanted to run faster than the speed of sound, but nobody, no matter how much pain they're in, can run that fast. So I heard the boom of my father's rifle when he shot my best friend. (2.59-2.60)
Arnold faces death for the first time in the novel when his father shoots his dog, Oscar, because the family can't afford to take the dog to the vet. We see the terrible effects of poverty as the sweet and innocent pup is killed – and Arnold loses his best canine friend. Poverty is immediately linked with senseless death, pain, and loss.
| Quote #2
But my family had to bury my grandmother.
I mean, it's natural to bury your grandmother.
Grandparents are supposed to die first, but they're supposed to die of old age. They're supposed
THEY ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO GET RUN OVER AND KILLED BY A DRUNK DRIVER! (22.82-22.85)
Though Junior's grandma is elderly, her life is brought to an untimely end by a drunk driver. Junior feels like he's been robbed of his grandmother by the rampant alcoholism on the reservation – and rightly so. As in the case of his dog Oscar, Arnold sees death as something senseless and totally preventable.
| Quote #3
People had either ignored me or called me names or pushed me.
But they stopped after my grandmother died.
I guess they realized that I was in enough pain already. Or maybe the realized they'd been cruel jerks.
I wasn't suddenly popular, of course. But I wasn't a villain anymore.
No matter what else happened between my tribe and me I would always love them for giving me peace on the day of my grandmother's funeral. (23.5-23.9)
Though the passing of Arnold's grandmother is difficult for him to accept, her death brings the Indian community Arnold stops getting harassed, as the reservation allows him to mourn for her in peace.