1. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian includes many examples of Junior’s cartoons. How do these drawings interact with the text? Are they a direct representation of things discussed in the story, or do they offer a different interpretation of characters and events? Do they feel integral to your understanding of the novel?
2. Junior often discusses life on the reservation without getting into the specifics of United States-Indian relations. What are three 20th-century developments in United States policy regarding American Indian groups that, though they are not mentioned in the novel, have a direct influence over Alexie’s depiction of life on the Spokane reservation? Describe that influence.
3. One of the main factors differentiating life for kids in Reardan from life for kids on the Spokane reservation is exposure to death. Why is there so much more death on the Spokane reservation? How does the prevalence of death on the reservation change Junior’s life?
4. How does Junior’s friendship with Rowdy on the reservation compare to Junior’s friendship with Gordy in Reardan? What are the main factors that distinguish these two friendships? Are there any ways in which the friendships are surprisingly similar?
5. Sports play a crucial role in Junior’s education. How do Junior’s basketball experiences compare and contrast with his academic ones?