PTI conflict paragraph

In Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian the greatest conflict that Junior faces is his ongoing identity crisis. He is constantly torn between the two drastically different environments that he lives in. Reardan and the rez. Junior wants to belong with a group of people, and he definitely doesn’t want to be singled out. Yet, at Reardan he’s singled out for being Indian, and on the rez he is singled out for not being Indian enough. When the entire reason that Junior left Reardan in the first place was to escape all the negativity on the rez, it is heartbreaking to see all of his courage backfire on him so badly, by creating more hostility in his community, however now it is directed at him.

The majority of the people that surrounded him growing up have turned on him. This is shown when Junior says, “They weren’t calling me by my rez name, Junior. Nope they were calling me by my Reardan name” (143.) This shows that Junior is fully aware of the fact that they view him negatively. That kind of feeling that he is a betrayal is something that chews at Junior throughout his life. He has to live two lives to stay safe and sane, and that is driving him over the edge. The novel is even called the diary of a part time Indian. Like being Indian is some kind of job rather than his actual life.

Junior is finally able to open up to someone about his identity issues when he talks to Gordy. Junior says, “They call me an apple because they think I’m red on the outside and white on the inside” (132.)  Though he is able to joke about it, Junior is clearly affected by this exile from his community. Opening up to Gordy may eventually help him to combine his two cultures into one happy life for himself, but it sure isn’t going to be easy.

That is the greatest conflict simply because he is being ripped apart constantly into two worlds, and it is an ongoing thing, all the way until the end of the novel. This conflict is related to the real world, and indigenous people today as well. They are being forced to have to live their cultural life as a hobby, rather than accepting that as who they are and living by it.