The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian discussion

Symbolism in Absolutely True

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message 1: by Ms. (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ms. Dragone After our mini-lesson on symbolism and our discussion that followed, choose one of the following symbols from ATDPTI and write about what you think it represents, and why Sherman Alexie might have chosen that symbol. Dig deep to discuss the "implications" and what we can learn about the themes of the book through this symbol.

Junior vs. Arnold (names)
Rowdy (names)
Road to Rearden

message 2: by Timmy (new)

Timmy Blakaj The symbolism idea that i chose was the phrase Junior vs. Arnold (names). I chose this because it kind of made me chuckle. I wrote in my notebook that the name Junior almost in a way made him more of an indian. And the name Arnold almost in a way made his core more of a white person.

Polina In Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, the symbol I thought was important to Junior's story was the 'Apple' that Junior brought up that the people on the reservation compared him to. I think that calling him an 'apple' is referring to him just looking like an Indian on the outside, but inside being supposedly 'white' in character, not a real Indian. This also connects to him having a flimsy layer of being truly Indian, one that can be easily taken away, making him 'white' on the inside in motives and personality. Junior wanting to have a good life makes him 'white' in the eyes of the Indians, who seem to believe that you can't want to be a success/be a success and Indian; those who leave the reservation/want to leave the reservation to make a better life for themselves are shunned when they try to do so. The apple symbolizes the 'traitor' that the Indians believe Arnold to be, an Indian who doesn't even really belong because they think him white in nature. This made me curious about what they consider to be acting Indian. I do not see why it is bad to want success, but do understand that they feel these people are giving up their home,culture, and family in favor of a better life. I think Sherman Alexie used an apple to symbolize the Indian perception of Arnold's personality as a character because it shows the two separate layers of a personality. He wants to show how one person who appears a certain way can be different from how people assume them to be. The 'Indian' part of him is shown by the red skin of an apple, but I honestly think Junior is different than this, as there are parts of him that fit with the 'Indian' part of his personality, he isn't just an Indian on the surface. Just as he isn't completely 'white' internally, and there are parts of Junior that are 'Indian' by classification also. Junior can't be simply called either 'white' or 'Indian' on the inside, which really relates to the theme (the part-time in the title) because calling him an apple symbolizes more than simply the two parts that define him (white and Indian) but it has to do with him trying to struggle to balance these parts of his life.

message 4: by Nelson (new)

Nelson lim The apple symbol was the symbol I choose because i really liked it. It shows that he really like his white self because if you peal the skin of the apple it is white and in the story white stands for being pure or perfect. I also really liked this because it shows not to judge a book by its cover. If you were in the story and you see Arnold you might think that he is just an ordinary native american but if you follow him to school then you see that he goes to a white school. The apple also symbolize that Arnold wants to be a perfect white person and he is aiming to get out of poverty and chase after his hopes and dreams. When Aronld aims for his dreams that shows the path away from the reservation. Away from the reservation shows hope and dreams.

Danielle Niremberg In the book, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie there are many symbols that represent big and stronger meanings. For example I think the apple has a strong meaning of this book. A symbol is, the practice of representing things by means of symbols or of attributing symbolic meanings or significance to objects, events, or relationships. I believe that this comparison as Arnold to an apple has a lot of hidden meaning. For example, the features of an apple are red on the outside, white on the inside and juicy all around. I think that the red part of the apple, which is the cover and protection, is Arnold’s Indian side. When you look at the apple, much like when you look at an apple all you see is how they look. In Arnold’s case, that is Indian. So Indian is what he is expected to always and forever be. But on the inside the apple is white. The apple is symbolic of Arnold because the inside of an apple is covered and hidden, and in order to find out the inside of that apple you need to cut through the protection (Red skin) and get to the hidden self (the white part) which is who you truly are. Only you can decide how your inner part will look like and will be like. Another idea is that Indians are always stereotyped and thought of to be “red skinned”. This simply means that they are like this type of skin tone and red. You can also think of Arnold and the white part of the apple as complete opposites. Sort of like oil and vinegar. They can’t blend and mix together because what they are made pf and their inside. You cannot be Indian and follow everything that the Indians believe and as well as be white. It just does not work. You must choose and be independent of what you want to be. In this case Arnold choose white. He is now going to Reardan; a white school where he believes his life will be better and filled with hope. Although Arnold has chosen to go to school with white kids, he will never and up white and getting the same exact privileges as they are portrayed to have. Arnold still has that red skin of the apple covering his insides. Even if Arnold would like to completely get rid of that red skin forever (Indian side), he can’t. He will always be stereotyped to look like and Indian and talk like an Indian. Same with the apple, you can try to peel of all of the red skin, but there will still be some skin and parts of the way it looks left over. Another idea that I thought of was, what could the juice of the apple mean and represent? I think it represents Arnold’s tears. Both when Arnold is with the Indians in school and with the whites, he is always getting bullied and is like an outcast from all directions. Seeds of the apple can represent Arnold’s differences. The seeds are in the middle of the white part of the apple. This is like when Arnold arrives to Reardan and is the only Indian kid in the entire school. The rest is white. Some apples will have a seed that looks different then the rest, that seed is Arnold in Reardan. Even in the Indian school Arnold sticks out. This is because Arnold still has all kinds of disabilities that make him physically and mentally different. Overall in order to find who you really are, you must “bite through” the red skin to get through to the inside. All this is what the symbolism apple symbolizes to me.

message 6: by Kay (new)

Kay After the symbolism mini-lesson in class, my eyes opened up way more about the book, 'Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian' by Sherman Alexie. I think the main reason why, would be about the idea of, 'road to Rearden'. I think this topic is an important symbol and element to the book because of the meaning.
When Arnold had that one conversation with his teacher, unfortunately I forgot the teacher's name, his whole life changed from that; only because it was such a signifigant aspect to Arnolds growing and maturing as the main character. The symbolism is, leaving the reservation in which Arnold resides in, to take the 'road to Rearden' refers to him refusing to give up on life. Arnold refuses to be a failure like his parents, or to be hopeless like any other Native American on that reservation. They have no drive, they influence Arnold give up on dreams and a career. All in all, for Arnold to take the 'road to Rearden' was an intelligent choice that changed the whole book. The symbolism of this idea shows how mature Arnold is, and how ambitious and hopeful he is. He is an amazing influence even as a 13 year old. He is destined for greatness and he is aware of this, and he will strive to accomplish his goals, even if this means going to a 'White' school miles away with 'White' kids.

Ryan In Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian there are lots of examples of symbolism. One of them is “Arnold is an apple”. Arnold is white in the inside and Indian in the outside.
People are saying his white in the inside and Indian in the outside because he’s attending at an all white school. Earlier in the book it mentions that Arnold said that to be successful in life you needed to be white, and to be white you need to act white. That’s where the quote comes in action. The author chose to write it this way, because he wanted to show people what kids at the reservation were thinking about him. You can infer that people at the reservation are no longer respects him.
Later on in the book, when Arnold goes to his first basketball against his old school, it mentions that fans on the other team were saying “Arnold sucks.” I noticed that the fans said “Arnold” instead of “Junior.” People at his school calls him Arnold, but in the reservation they usually call him Junior. From this quote, it clearly shows that the people at reservation are saying Arnold is white and not Indian.
Arnold has the right to be successful if he wants to be successful. He believes that to succeed, you need to go to an all white school. So he decided to attend at another outside the reservation. Arnold also has a right to go to the school he wants to attend to. There’s nothing wrong with it. That doesn’t mean that kids in the reservation have the right to bully him.

MaryKay I have to point out that The Absolute True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is one of the books being distributed on World Book Night (April 23, 2012).

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