Study Guide

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian Home

By Sherman Alexie


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Sherman Alexie dedicates The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian to his two hometowns: Wellpinit and Reardan. Like Alexie, Arnold Spirit, Jr. has two hometowns as well. There is his family's home on the Spokane Indian Reservation, and then there's his place at the white high school in Reardan. Though he should be at home in both places, sometimes Arnold feels like a complete stranger. In the end, Arnold stops thinking of home so much as a specific place, and instead learns to be at home among many different people. As Rowdy tells him, he is a "nomad" (30.182). (For more, see our section on "Setting.")

Questions About Home

  1. How is Rowdy's home different from Junior's?
  2. Why does Mary hide in her parents' basement? Why does she leave home and go to Montana?
  3. How are the homes of the white basketball players different from those of the Indian basketball players? Does this change how they play?
  4. Why does Arnold call the reservation both a prison and a place of great beauty? Can it be both?
  5. Is being a nomad a good thing? Is it a good thing according to Rowdy?

Chew on This

Sometimes you have to leave your home to find yourself.

Home is not only the place where you were born, it can also mean the place where you belong. A person can have many different homes.