English 10 – Benchmark
Jan. 18, 2013
The book is a coming of age novel that shows the brave changes and hard times teenagers face in high school. Coming of age is an overused theme in most teenage novels; however, Sherman Alexie takes a different approach to the theme. He takes the perspective through the eyes of a poor, nerdy, distinguished Indian boy. One character that stands out in the story is Arnold “Junior” Spirit because Junior grows as an individual and a student. He realizes he needs to take steps further than he first thought, in order to succeed in life and not live the same life everyone else on the reservation has. He overcomes many problems and changes completely during the course of the novel. Junior can be described as a courageous, determined, as well as a role model.
Junior can be described as courageous for multiple reasons. One of the biggest risks Junior takes in the book is transferring from the Wellpinit Reservation High School to Reardon High School. It took a lot of courage to make and follow through with this decision, Junior knew there would be many repercutions. "Reardon is the rich, white farm town that sits in the wheat fields exactly twenty two miles away from the Rez. And it's a hick town I suppose, filled with farmers and rednecks and racist cops who stop every Indian that comes through." (Alexi Pg 45/46) This is pratically a leap of faith Junior is taking, no indian on the reservation has ever left the reservation school. Junior knows the other indians will discrace him and lose much respect for him. In fact, his bestfriend Rowdy punches him in the face for leaving. Junior also knows that going to Reardon he can expect to automatically be stereotyped and people to set low expectations for him at Reardon. Junior is the only indian in the entire school, but that does not affect him. He is there to be successful and nothing is going to stop him....