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Analysis

Literary Devices in The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Junior's poor little dog Oscar is shot by his father in the book's tearjerker of a second chapter. The death of the animal, who is a complete innocent, becomes a symbol for the senseless destructio...

Setting

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian features two main settings, the Pacific Northwest towns of Wellpinit and Reardan. These contrasting locations – one an impoverished Indian reservat...

Narrator Point of View

Reading The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian feels like a conversation with your closest friend. Arnold tells us everything going through his big, big head, all of his hopes and dreams a...

Genre

Young AdultSherman Alexie has worked in multiple genres: poetry, novels, and short stories. In The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, he writes his first ever young adult novel. Alexie ex...

Tone

The First H: HumorousArnold is a funny, funny guy and cracks jokes – or draws hilarious pictures – even at his darkest moments (See, for example, figure 12.4, figure 24.5, and figure 27.2). She...

Writing Style

Sherman Alexie's writing style is lively and exuberant, and his narrator, the teenage Arnold, leaps from one topic to the next. So what do we get in between those leaps? Why pictures, of course!El...

What's Up With the Title?

Attention all Shmoopers:The book you are reading is not just a diary. It is not just a true diary.It is an absolutely true diary.And this absolutely true diary does not belong to just anyone.This a...

What's Up With the Epigraph?

There is another world, but it is in this one. –W.B. YeatsSherman Alexie prefaces The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian with a quotation that he attributes to W.B. Yeats (though we've a...

What's Up With the Ending?

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian ends in Chapter 30 with a one-on-one basketball game between Arnold and Rowdy. Their conversation during the play has a whole lot to do with reconcil...

Tough-o-Meter

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is a wild and exuberant tale, and Arnold Spirit, Jr., our affable narrator, is a laugh riot. The writing is fun and casual, and even includes illustr...

Plot Analysis

Arnold is the reservation outcast.Arnold Spirit, Jr. is a teenage boy with a pretty tough life. First of all, he lives in poverty on a Spokane Indian Reservation and is the son of two alcoholics. H...

Trivia

Sherman Alexie actually found his mother's name written in his high school geometry textbook – just like Arnold Spirit, Jr. (source).Sherman Alexie is not just a novelist; he's also a talented fi...

Allusions

Daredevil (3.114)X-Men (3.114)Richie Rich (3.114)Archie (3.114)Casper the Friendly Ghost (3.114)Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities (7.33)Shakespeare (20.102)Euripides, Medea (24.24)John Steinbec...
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