Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian: Socratic Seminar Reflection

In today’s Socratic Seminar on “Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” by Sherman Alexie, our grade nine class split in two for a 30-minute discussion. In these 30 minutes, my group exchanged various ideas and arguments, including a difference of opinion on the meaning behind Rowdy’s name. This dispute was one of the many sources of analysis that occurred throughout the discussion. I feel that I conveyed a sophisticated understanding of the text and stylistic features, for example my interpretation of the theme: living between two cultures, when I stated that Junior’s main struggle over the course of the novel is between his cultural ties to the reservation and his ambitions to educate himself and achieve a better lifestyle than the people around him in the rez. He faces resistance and doubt on all sides: Rowdy and many other people on the reservation call Junior a traitor and a white-lover, even turning their backs on him during a basketball game.

Meanwhile, Junior’s Reardan classmates either ignore him or torment him for being different. He does not feel as though he fits into anywhere, hence the title “Part-Time Indian.” However, Junior eventually discovers that he does not have to mould himself into a preconceived notion of an Indian or white kid Many share his struggle, he realizes, and thinks to himself, “I might be a lonely Indian boy, but I [am] not alone in my loneliness” (Alexie 217). I feel that this by itself already shows the time and effort I put into deeply analyzing the text and specific things that Junior says. I also think that I initiated and participated in our discussion, often building upon others ideas and collaborating with the people next to me to show our thinking. Although I might have stuttered or paused for some time when trying to explain my thoughts, overall, I feel that I maintained a formal register and adhered to conventions throughout this Socratic Seminar. 

Prep Socratic Seminar Reflection Absolutely True Diary Chapters 1-11

In today’s English class, a practice Socratic Seminar was held to prepare our class for November 19th. Our group discussed various things, including racial discrimination, social expectation, and so forth. I feel that something I did well was creating questions and answering with intricate answers, an example of a question our group created was:

Junior’s complicated friendship with Rowdy is one of the primary sources of conflict at the beginning of this novel. What are some ways in which this conflict shows itself? Why, despite the ways that Rowdy has mistreated Junior, is Junior so adamant about keeping their friendship after he transfers to Reardan?

I feel that this question is open-ended and allows for multiple interpretations; this is why it is a ‘good’ question. An interpretation I had to this question was that Rowdy is the only source of hope for Junior at this period of the novel. This source of hope comes from the degree of negligence in the rez, so when Rowdy hangs out with Junior, it is like a blessing; which is why Junior depends on their relationship so strongly.

Something I want to improve on is looking at specific parts of the text to back up the claims I make, for example, page numbers, specific images, and so forth. This will also give my argument more authenticity as it is harder to argue against what the author writes in the text than to argue against someone’s opinion alone.