January 17, 2013 Nicole Samuels The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian Chapter 1-3 Summary In chapter one, we are introduced to the narrator, Arnold Spirit, nicknamed Junior. He describes himself, as being of lanky build, with an overly large skull, feet and hands. He has a medical condition called Hydrocephalus, which is an excess of fluid in the skull causing swelling of the brain.
Junior went through a very risky surgery at the age of 6 months, which would normally kill or permanently damage the brain of the patient, but luckily came out undamaged. Junior has frequent seizures, a lisp and stutter. He matured having 42 teeth and had to get 10 pulled all at once with minimal novocaine. He could only have cheap glasses with big black frames. He lives on the reservation and is the weakest and smallest of them all so is beat up frequently and belongs to “the Black-Eye-of-the-Month-Club”. He tells us about how he loves to draw, and that it is the only thing he is good at.
Chapter two is where Junior reveals that he is poor, saying that he is “just a poor-ass reservation kid living with his poor-ass family on the poor-ass Spokane Indian Reservation”. He also gives us the very important math equation of “Poverty = empty refrigerator + empty stomach”. He tells about how good a piece of KFC chicken tastes after not eating for a long time. He tells us about how he wishes he could blames his parents for their poverty but cant because he loves them too much and they were born into poverty as were their parents, and their parents, and so on and so forth.
He talks about how his parents had dreams but didn’t do anything about it, and draws a picture of who his parents could have been if they had followed their dreams. He tells us about how being poor makes you feel, like you’re hopeless. Junior also delves into a painful memory and tells us about the time he heard his father shoot his dog Oscar, who was his best friend, and could do nothing about it. In the third chapter we are introduced to Juniors best human friend, Rowdy. Rough, mean, rude, and willing to beat up anything and anyone, Rowdy watches out for Junior.
Rowdy convinces Junior to go the Spokane tribe’s annual Labor Day celebration, the Powwow. While there Junior angers Rowdy and Rowdy shoves Junior and he runs away, straight into three 30 year old men who beat him up. Rowdy finds him on the ground and vows revenge, and gets it later that night when the men have passed out. He shaves off their eyebrows and cut off their braids, which are a big deal to native men. Junior tells us more about Rowdy, and in his calculations they have spent more than 48,000 hours in each others company.
Chapter 9-11 Summary Junior worries that Roger will take revenge for Junior having punched him in the face, wishing Rowdy were still his friend. He asks his grandmother for advice and she tells him it means that roger respects him, but Junior believes she is just crazy. The next day Junior’s parents don’t have enough gas to drive him to school, so he starts the 22 mile trek to school. Along the way junior runs into Eugene, his father’s best friend. Eugene is an alcoholic of the happy sorts, and he gives Junior a ride to school on his motorcycle.
When they arrive at school, all the white kids just stare at junior and Eugene, and Roger passes by Junior but doesn’t kick his butt, only says he’ll see him around, and looks impressed. Juniors pretty pumped over this and says Hi to the porcelain beauty Penelope only to be shot down by her, and thinks to himself that he may have impressed the king but the queen still doesn’t approve of him one little bit. In chapter ten Junior tells us the story of Dawn, a beautiful Indian girl with legendary braids who he fell in love with at the age of twelve.
Junior had no shot with Dawn, but still confessed to Rowdy his love for her. Rowdy tells Junior that Dawn does not care about him. At all. But Junior still loves her. And so he cries over her, and tells us he is the opposite of a warrior because he is too emotional. He asks Rowdy to keep everything a secret, and Rowdy does. It is Halloween in chapter 11, and Junior goes to school in the simplest and cheapest costume he can think of, a homeless man, because he already has the wardrobe for it.
Penelope goes a homeless woman, saying it is a political statement against the treatment of homeless people in the USA, and is going trick-or-treating for spare change to donate to the homeless. Junior says he is making a statement against the treatment of homeless Native Indians in the USA, and will also go trick-or-treating for spare change, and maybe they cold donate together. Miraculously Penelope agrees. Later that night, while trick-or-treating, Junior is jumped by three guys in Frankenstein masks who kick him, spit on him and take the money for charity.
Junior wonders if one of the guys was Rowdy. The next day Junior tells Penelope what happened, and she is horrified and tells him she will put his name on her donation anyway. Junior thinks that after this Penelope and he will get closer, but of course this doesn’t happen. You do not become popular overnight. Junior wishes he could go to Rowdy for advice to get Penelope to like him, but already knows Rowdy would say “The first thing you have to do is change the way you look, the way you talk, and the way you walk. And then she’ll think you’re her fricking Prince Charming”
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