hope against hope
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The school suspends Junior for hitting Mr. P. Later, Mr. P comes to Junior’s house, but instead of getting angry, he begins to apologize to Junior. Mr. P. says that he and the other white teachers were once instructed to make their Indian students forget their culture and heritage, and he feels guilty about his past compliance with this rule. That is why he cannot punish Junior; he knows that the conditions he and the other teachers implemented have created a chain reaction that has led to his own nose being injured. Mr. P. tells Junior that he is the smartest kid in his school, which means that he has to leave the reservation. Regardless of how difficult it might be, Mr. P. says, leaving the reservation will be Junior's only chance to realize his hopes and aspirations.
Mr. P. also mentions that he taught Mary when she was in high school. She was a bright student who loved to write. Mr. P. says that Mary dreamed of writing romance novels, which Junior cannot believe. After high school, Mr. P. explains, he saw Mary’s enthusiasm and hope fade away. That is why he wants Junior to leave the reservation; he sees the same potential in Junior that he once saw in Mary and wants to help Junior avoid his reclusive sister's fate.