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.