The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Exacerbating Oppression 10th Grade

Junior summarizes his lifestyle when he says “I guess a fake life inside a cartoon is a lot better than…real life.” (Alexie 23) In Sherman Alexie’s book, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, the main character is a Native American boy named Junior, struggling to come of age in an oppressive environment. Amidst his struggles Junior focuses exclusively on the oppression coming from society, his family, and what seems like his entire world. His subsequent depression is a result of this focus. Sherman Alexie uses this depression to illustrate his motif of self-defeat, and the resultant exacerbation of Junior’s problems. Through the motif of self-defeat, Sherman Alexie shows that oppression is made worse through acceptance, exaggeration or pessimism, and misappropriation of blame.

Sherman Alexie supports his motif of self-defeat through Junior’s perpetual acceptance of his oppression, and his resulting lack of hope. Through his autobiographical narration, it is evident that one of the defining characteristics of Junior’s personality is his abandonment of hope, which stems from his belief that he can never improve his life because of his situation. He frequently expresses such an attitude to the reader: “Poverty doesn’t...

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