Leaving the Reservation: Reconstructing Identity in Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Li Ping Chang, Shu Yuan Chuang, Chih Ting Wang, Han Ting Chang, Mei Han Chen, Chu Hsien Chang, Yin Chi Chu


Sherman Alexie is an acclaimed Native American author who writes about growing up on the Spokane Indianreservation and the harsh realities of widespread poverty and alcoholism. This paper aims to examine hisreconstruction of Native American identity in his young adult novel, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-TimeIndian. This book presents a Native American’s education, culture, and wounds through the eyes of a teenage boynamed Arnold. The phrase “absolutely true diary” hints at the semi-autobiographical nature of Alexie’s novel; likeArnold, Alexie grew up on the Spokane Indian Reservation and transferred to the all-white high school in Reardon toescape the hopelessness of the rez. The words “part-time” signify Arnold’s struggle to reconcile his disparateexperiences in the white world and the Indian world. Caught between the two, he must reconstruct his NativeAmerican identity to find his own place in the world.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/wjel.v4n1p1

World Journal of English Language
ISSN 1925-0703(Print)  ISSN 1925-0711(Online)

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