Individual Vs Community in The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian

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About this sample


Words: 527 |

Page: 1|

3 min read

Published: Dec 16, 2021

Words: 527|Page: 1|3 min read

Published: Dec 16, 2021

Society is cutthroat. It's a killer community where people battle every day to remain themselves while trying to remain in the group. Sherman Alexie portrays this in The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by showing what being an individual in a community is like for an individual person, and how it can affect our daily lives.

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The struggle to remain an individual is portrayed many times throughout the book. One instance is when Junior first decides to switch schools, stating ''I want to go to Rearden,' I said again. I couldn't believe I was saying it. For me, it seemed as real as saying, 'I want to fly to the moon'' (45). At this point in the book, being an individual is clearly shown, but it's taken a lot out of a lot out of Junior to get there. Leaving his whole family and best friend Rowdy is an extremely hard decision because no one has left the reservation before and going to an all-white school as an Indian with a disability could stack the odds against him even more. Nevertheless, Junior sticks with his decision, showing a clear representation of being an individual and its hardships. Junior knows the immense amount of backlash he will get for leaving but he continues with the decision he made because he knows, in the end, it will benefit him and his education and this adds to his individuality more.

Peer pressure and the comforting feeling of staying with the rest of the crowd is a major theme throughout this novel as well. For example, when Junior is thinking back on a memory he and Rowdy shared, he says 'It wasn't really open to debate. I had to climb the tree with him. I couldn't back down. That wasn't how our friendship worked' (225). It wasn't Junior's idea to climb the tree, but he did it anyway because he knew Rowdy would make fun of him if he didn't. Peer pressure is a very good example of community, and that is exactly what happens in the book. Junior felt pressured to do something he didn't really want to do to remain in this 'community' and this further shows the pressures of society.

Going against authority to get a point across is a huge step to be an individual. A good example is when Gordy stands up to a teacher for Junior. Alexie writes 'He stood with his textbook and dropped it. Whomp! He looked so strong. He looked like a warrior' (175). Gordy dropped his textbook to show he stands with Junior. Gordy stood up to his community, which took a lot of courage and that shows an individual. His decision to go against his teacher is a huge part of the individual vs. community.

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All in all, Junior's hardships in high school are a representation of people's day to day struggles to remain an individual in a community. Society is extremely brutal and sometimes it seems more important to try and 'fit in' but really individuality is just as beautiful. There are examples of individual vs. community constantly in our daily lives, think twice before you make a decision next time.

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Dr. Oliver Johnson

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Individual vs Community in The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. (2021, December 16). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 25, 2024, from
“Individual vs Community in The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.” GradesFixer, 16 Dec. 2021,
Individual vs Community in The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 25 May 2024].
Individual vs Community in The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2021 Dec 16 [cited 2024 May 25]. Available from:
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