Study Guide

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian Chapter 27

By Sherman Alexie

Chapter 27

Because Russian Guys Are Not Always Geniuses

  • Arnold tells us that he's only fourteen and has been to forty-two funerals. That's way more than any white teenager he knows, but that's the main difference between Indians and whites. Most of the deaths are caused by alcohol.
  • Gordy gives Arnold a book by Tolstoy who said that unhappy families are all unhappy in their own way; Arnold disagrees. He thinks all Indian families are unhappy because of the booze.
  • Arnold tells us why he's feeling so extra-bitter: this morning Miss Warren, the guidance counselor, called him into her office.
  • It was weird because Miss Warren is pretty hot, so when she hugs him he gets an erection. The she tells him his sister is dead. Weird squared.
  • Arnold's Dad is on the way to pick him up, but it's snowing and Arnold is afraid his Dad will get in a wreck. When he finally sees the car he can only start laughing. Once he starts, he can't stop. In a state of hysteria, Arnold loses it and can't stop laughing.
  • In the car, Arnold's Dad tells him that his sister died in a fire. She was having a party and someone left the hot plate on. A curtain caught on fire, and everything burned down. His sister wouldn't have felt any pain because she was too drunk.
  • Junior is not comforted by this last part. He starts laughing hysterically again. He throws up and a little piece of cantaloupe comes out. This is weird cause he hates cantaloupe, but his sister loved it. Weird.
  • More hysterical laughing ensues. Then Arnold falls asleep and dreams about cantaloupe and the time he got stung by a wasp.
  • At home, relatives are around eating all the food, and Arnold's Mom clings to him and slaps him until he promises never to drink. Then she cries on him for hours.
  • Mary is buried in the Catholic graveyard near the powwow ground and Arnold feels like he's in a fog.
  • After the coffin is lowered into the ground, Arnold turns and runs into the woods. He runs straight into Rowdy, who had been hiding and watching the burial.
  • Rowdy is crying. Junior reaches to touch Rowdy's shoulder, but Rowdy tries to punch him. He misses! This makes Junior laugh, and Rowdy cry harder.
  • Rowdy tells Junior it's all his fault. Mary is dead because Junior left the rez. She only left and got married because Junior left first. Rowdy tells Junior he hates him.
  • Then Rowdy turns and runs away. Junior has never seen him run from anything before.
  • Unable to bear everyone drinking at home, Junior goes to school the next day.
  • At school everyone hugs and comforts Junior. Penelope is weeping with a snotty nose but still looks good, according to Junior.