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Junior graples with love, sex, identity, and culture. At the beginning of the novel, Junior describes how living on the reservation makes Indians lose hope. He uses his parents as examples of Indians who did not follow their dreams because nobody ever believed in them enough to support their ambitions. A desire to break out of this cycle of poverty and destitution motivates Junior to transfer to Reardan. Once at his new school, Junior immediately notices that his new classmates have endless hope for the future. Though he wrestles with the feeling that he has betrayed his tribe by attending Reardan, Junior is also realistic about the fact that staying on the reservation would not offer him any opportunities for advancement.