Study Guide

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian Chapter 4

By Sherman Alexie

Chapter 4

Because Geometry Is Not A Country Somewhere Near France

  • Our fourteen-year-old narrator finds himself in geometry class on the first day of school. Needless to say, he is excited. No, seriously. Junior loves right angles. They make him feel "hormonal" (4.2).
  • (Though he also loves women with curves, as he tells us in an extended aside on the awesomeness of masturbation.)
  • Junior tells us that his love of right angles manifested even from an early age when he would sleep in his bedroom closet, in the corner. His sister ruined that, though, when she said he was just trying to get back to his mother's womb.
  • Speaking of Junior's sister: her name is Mary, and she didn't get a job or go to college after high school. She is beautiful (though kind of crazy) and called "Mary Runs Away" (fig 4.1).
  • Junior then changes the subject to basketball: he and Rowdy were both on the eighth-grade team, and they were the best players. Junior is worried, though, about playing in high school. Will the kids pick on him? Will Rowdy? Either way, he's still super-excited.
  • Back to geometry class: Mr. P, the weird-looking teacher who sometimes comes to class in his pajamas (fig 4.2), walks in with a bunch of textbooks.
  • Digression: all of the teachers actually live at the school in one-bedroom cottages. Some are "liberal, white, vegetarian do-gooders" while others are "conservative, white missionary saviors" (4.38).
  • Anyway. Junior sees an inscription on the inside of his geometry book: "THIS BOOK BELONGS TO AGNES ADAMS" (4.52).
  • Junior reads this, and he is enraged. Why? Because Agnes Adams is his mother. That means that his school is so poor that they've been using the same books for at least thirty years.
  • Junior feels like he has been hit by a nuclear bomb. So what does he do? He throws the geometry book square at Mr. P (fig 4.3).