Study Guide

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian Chapter 22

By Sherman Alexie

Chapter 22

Red Versus White

  • Arnold acknowledges that his reader probably thinks he's fallen in love with white people. Still, he tells us that's not true.
  • He loves his sister, who sends him postcards and has made a New Year's resolution to finish her book by the summer. It's about hope.
  • And he loves his mother and father, because, though they may have their flaws, they talk to him. And they listen.
  • Arnold opines about white families and the white community in Reardan. He marvels at how people can live in Reardan and still be strangers. Indian families are so close and know everything about each other—even their shoe size.
  • Arnold says he's not in love with white people—he's more realistic than that. He still knows, though, that living in Reardan is better than Wellpinit.
  • Arnold talks about what he thinks is the best thing about Wellpinit: his grandmother. Her gift, he tells us, was tolerance.
  • In the old days, Indian tribes were more accepting of outsiders (epileptics, gay people), but gradually lost that tolerance through the influence of white people (according to Arnold).
  • But grandmother? She was accepting of the homeless (and talked to invisible people with them) and discouraged gay bashing.
  • She was also powwow-famous, which means that all the Indians at the powwows knew her.
  • Unfortunately, Grandma has recently passed away. Coming back from a mini powwow, she was struck and killed by a drunk driver.
  • The last thing she said before she died was "forgive him"—meaning, forgive the drunk driver who killed her (22.67).
  • Arnold also forgives Gerald, the Indian who struck her with his car. Gerald also got sent to prison for eighteen months.
  • Arnold laments his grandmother's death, especially since she didn't even drink alcohol.