The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Chapter 1: The Black-Eye-of-the-Month Club


  1. What did you call the water in your brain? I just call it brain grease.
  2. How was your brain? It was a giant French fry.
  3. What did the doctors do to fix your brain? The doctors cut it open.
  4. Did you survive the surgery? I wouldn’t be writing this if I didn’t.
  5. How old were you when you got your first surgery? I was six months old.
  6. What did the dentist do to your extra teeth? They pulled them out in ONE day.
  7. What did the brain damage do to your eyes? They were like enemies, like they used to be married to each other but then hated each other.
  8. Because of your big feet and thin body, what did you look like? Like a capital L.
  9. How did your big head have an impact on your social life? Because of it, they called me Orbit.
  10. What did the doctors say to you where after you had a number of seizures? Susceptible to seizure activity.
  11. What did stuttering and lisp make a person? You become the biggest retard in the world.
  12. Why do you want to draw when you grow up? That’s the only way I can become rich and famous.

Style and Imagery

  1. How would this text have appeared if it had been written in a matter-of-fact style:
    I was born with water on the brain and had surgery when I was 6 months old. Due to the brain damage my head is very big and it has also caused seizures and eye and speech impairments. I was also very poor since I am an Indian”?
    Would you have found it interesting? What makes Junior’s version more interesting to read? Give examples.

Junior’s version is more interesting because it’s more personal. If it had been written in a matter-of-fact style I wouldn’t have any interest in reading it. 

  1. A lot of images and comparisons are used in this text. One example is “French fry”. Find them and explain them. How do these images contribute to our understanding of the text?

These images contribute to paint us a picture in our head of how he looked and felt. 

The American Dream

  1. Read the paragraph about Junior and the cartoons.
    What does he mean when he refers to the cartoons as his “lifeboats”? The cartoons was his way of escaping from reality, it was also the thing he thought could take him out of the reservation.
    B. Referring to the cartoons, he says: “That’s the only way I can become rich and famous.” How is this linked to the American Dream? That’s liked to the American Dream in the expectations he has built up. He has heard about other blacks that have become rich through doing arts like singing, poetry, painting etc. 
  2. Make a table with two columns. The heading of the first column is Cons. The heading of the second column is Pros. Sum up all the handicaps and odds (the cons) that might prevent Junior from fulfilling the American Dream. Sum up the resources, abilities and odds (the pros) that might enable Junior to fulfill his goals.

Cons: He has a lot of challenges that makes it more difficult for him then others to fulfill the American Dream. He has to work a lot harder. 

Pros: The fact that he is different makes him special. 

  1. Then discuss if his disabilities and disadvantages might be an explanation of his success. I think so because he’s probably not the only Native American that has written a book. But since he has more difficulty then only being Native American, it makes him special and people want to listen and read about him. 
  2. Why do you think the author chose to give the first chapter the title “The Black-Eye-Of-The-Month Club”? I think the author chose to call the first chapter that, because all of his issues led to the black eyes he got every month. 


  1. Why do you think Junior becomes the reservation’s outcast? I think he becomes the outcast because he’s different in a society that people already look down on. So they don’t want junior to make them look even worse. 
  2. Junior talks about his handicaps in a humorous way. Is it because he does not care or does not think that it matters? I think he cares because it has had such a big impact on his life. I really think it’s because he doesn’t think it matters. 
  3. Do you think it is morally right to make fun of physical handicaps? Of course not! They are humans with feelings too and a person has no right to make fun of a physical handicapped person. 
  4. In spite of all his handicaps and the odds against him, Junior is, in many respects, a winner. In which respect does he succeed? And how do you think he achieves this success? He is a winner and he is respected because he has been through a lot. He has fought many battles and has stayed strong for a very long time. 

Chapter 2: Why Chicken Means so Much to Me


  1. Why does Junior wish that he were magical? Junior wishes he were magical; so he could perform a magic trick and make food and money appear. 
  2. Who is Oscar? Oscar is Junior’s best friend and a dog.
  3. What has happened to him? Oscar was sick, so Junior’s father had to shoot him because they didn’t have money to go to the vet. 
  4. Why is Oscar so important to Junior? Oscar was Junior’s only friend and the only one Junior depended on. 
  5. How does Junior know that his mother is lying? Junior saw in his mother’s eyes that she was lying to him. 
  6. Why do you think she was lying? She was lying because it didn’t make her feel guilty for Oscar’s death. 
  7. What impression do you get of Junior? Is he a good storyteller? Explain why/why not. I really think he is a good storyteller because he tells them in his own way. The impression that I got from him was that he was a very closed person, with a lot of feelings and thought. 
  8. Why do you think the novel is written as a diary? I think it’s written in a diary because everything is so personal and up close on his life. 
  9. Why do you think Junior calls himself a part-time Indian? I think he calls himself a part-time Indian because he thinks so much about getting out of the reservation.


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