Although born with a severe case of hydrocephalus, he astonishingly recovered and learned to read at an early age. Alexie used his social rejection to concentrate on his studies. Inhe was awarded a scholarship to Gonzaga University where he regrettably began abusing alcohol.
Plot[ edit ] The book follows Junior, a fourteen-year-old boy living with his family on the Spokane Indian Reservation near Wellpinit, Washington for a school year. It is told in episodic diary style, moving from the start of the school year to the beginning of summer.
It includes both Junior's written record of his life and his cartoon drawings, some of them comically commenting on his situations, and others more seriously depicting important people in his life.
The current Spokane Indian reservation The Absolutely True Diary begins by introducing Junior's birth defects, including the fact that he was born with hydrocephalus and therefore is small for his age and suffers from seizures, poor eyesight, stuttering, and a lisp.
As a result, Junior has always been picked on by other people on the reservation. When Junior's dog Oscar gets heat stroke, his father must put him down because they cannot afford to take him to a veterinarian.
Junior's only child friend is Rowdy, a classmate who is abused at home and is known as a bully on the reservation.
Despite his intimidating role, Rowdy often stands up for Junior and they bond by enjoying kids' comics. Junior's first day of high school is pivotal to the plot of the novel. Angered and saddened by the fact that the reservation is so poor that it cannot afford new textbooks, Junior violently throws the book, which hits Mr.
P's face, breaking his nose. When he visits Junior at home, Mr. P convinces Junior to transfer to Reardan High School, sensing a degree of precociousness in the young teenager. The town of Reardan is far wealthier than Wellpinit—Junior is the only Indian at Reardan besides the team mascot.
Rowdy, however, is upset by Junior's decision to transfer, and the once-best friends have very little contact during the year. Junior develops a crush on the school's most popular white girl, Penelope, and becomes study friends with an intelligent student named Gordy.
His interactions with the white students give him a better perspective both on white culture and his own.
He realizes how much stronger his family ties are than those of his white classmates, noticing that many of the white fathers never come to their children's school events. Junior also realizes that the white students have different rules than those he grew up with, which is evident when he reacts to an insult from the school's star athlete, Roger, by punching him in the face.
Junior hit him, as he would have been expected to do on the reservation, and he expects Roger to get revenge.
But Roger never does; in fact, Roger and his friends show Junior more respect. Junior also gets closer to Penelope, which makes him more popular with the other girls at the school.
Roger suggests that Junior try out for the basketball team, and to Junior's surprise, he makes the varsity team, which pits him against his former school, Wellpinit, and specifically Rowdy, who is Wellpinit's star freshman. Their first match demonstrates to Junior just how angry the reservation people are at him for transferring: During the game, Rowdy elbows Junior in the head and knocks him unconscious.
While suffering some injuries from the game, Junior and his coach become closer as Coach tells him that he admires Junior's commitment to the team. Later on, his grandmother, who Junior looks up to the most on the reservation, is hit and killed by a drunk driver.
After his grandmother's funeral, a family friend, Eugene, is shot in the face by his friend Bobby after fighting over alcohol. After grieving and reflecting on his loved ones' deaths, Junior plays in his basketball team's second match against Wellpinit.
Reardan wins and Junior gets to block Rowdy.
BIOGRAPHY Winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, the PEN/Malamud Award for Short Fiction, a PEN/Hemingway Citation for Best First Fiction, and the National Book Award for Young People's Literature, Sherman Alexie is a poet, short story writer, novelist, and performer. Sherman Alexie’s “Because My Father Always Said He Was the Only Indian Who Saw Jimi Hendrix Play “The Star-Spangled Banner” at Woodstock” follows Victor, a young Native American, fondly reminiscing about his father’s drunken antics. In the story, Victor describes life and relationships while on an Indian reservation. Sherman Alexie looks at storytelling in "How To Write the Great American Novel" as that which has been stereotyped and mainstreamed into the dominant culture, while Joy Harjo seems to view storytelling in "Deer Dancer" as vital to the survival of culture.
Junior feels triumphant until he sees the Wellpinit players' faces after their defeat and remembers the difficulties they face at home and their lack of hope for a future; ashamed, he runs to the locker room, where he vomits and then breaks down in tears.
Later, Junior receives news of the death of his sister and her husband who were killed in a fire at their trailer.
In the course of the year, Junior and his family suffered many tragedies, many related to alcohol abuse. These events test Junior's sense of hope for a better future and make him wonder about the darker aspects of reservation culture.
Furthermore, the protagonist is torn between the need to fit in his new, all-white school and holding on to his Indian heritage, leading him to face criticism from his own community.
Despite these challenges, they also help him see how much his family and his new friends love him, and he learns to see himself as both Indian and American.
Meanwhile, Rowdy realizes that Junior is the only nomad on the reservation, which makes him more of a "traditional" Indian than everyone else in town. In the end, Junior and Rowdy reconcile while playing basketball and resolve to correspond no matter where the future takes them. The only difference from Alexie's life and the novel is that Alexie threw the book against the wall out of anger, and did not hit anyone like Junior did.Introduction to Sherman Alexie The following presentation has been compiled from many interviews of the named literary author.
This is my first look into an Award Winning Native American Writer. Sherman Alexie Essay Words Nov 5th, 4 Pages In the essay “The Joy of Reading and Writing: Superman and Me,” Sherman Alexie credits learning to read a Superman comic book with saving his life.
Sherman Alexie is a preeminent Native American poet, novelist, performer and filmmaker. He has garnered high praise for his poems and short stories of contemporary Native American reservation life, among them The Business of Fancydancing (), The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fist Fight in Heaven (), which won a PEN/Hemingway .
Sherman Alexie is an award-winning author, poet, and filmmaker. His work primarily focuses on contemporary Native American identity.
Alexie was born on October 7, on the Spokane Indian Reservation in Washington, to Sherman Joseph Alexie and Lillian Agnes Cox. He is of Coeur d’Alene, Colville, Flathead, Spokane, and Caucasian descent. Sherman Alexie at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database; Sherman Alexie on IMDb ; Voice of the New Tribes article by Duncan Campbell in "The Guardian" January 3, ; Sherman Alexie's poem "Punch" in Gulf Coast: A Journal of Literature and Fine Arts.
- Sherman Alexie has made a name for himself as a prolific contemporary Native American writer, taking inspiration from his own past and experiences with modern Indian life.
While there are many enduring themes throughout Alexie's writings: Native identity, modern reservation life, alcohol abuse etc.
when it comes to his collection War Dances.