“The Absolute True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” by Sherman Alexie Book Review

Through the centuries, being a member of the community means to follow a set of rules and principles, moral values and religious practices, behaviors, customs, and traditions. Often it is very difficult to pursue your own purpose in life and satisfy wants and needs of other people around. At his new school, Reardan, Arnold gets to know a book-lover named Gordy, who says that “life is a constant struggle between being an individual and being a member of the community” (132). This statement explains a lot about what is happening to Arnold’s life through the end of the story. Gordy’s words perfectly illustrate Arnold’s situation in life and explain that you should behave like other people around, share similar interests, follow similar rules, norms, and standards in order to be the part of the community. As known, people do not like differences; if a person differs from other people, community perceives his or her as a stranger, an outsider. On the example of Arnold’s life it becomes obvious that in order to find your own self, identity, and purpose in life, you need to break certain rules and principles of the community and follow your own motifs, wants and desires.

People always struggle between being an individual and member of the community because they need to make a choice and it is often difficult to choose between your friends and values of the community, between the common life principles and traditions, and between your own identity and intentions in life. As known, people cannot combine their own self and the community. Gordy says, “Weird people still get banished” (132) and this statement also reflects Arnold’s life and situation. Gordy explains that Arnold is not primitive like others around; he differs from other people in his values, intentions, intelligence, and interests. At the same time, these differences may cause challenges, struggles, and pitfalls. Gordy says, “In the early days of humans, the community was our only protection against predators, and against starvation. We survived because we trusted one another… back in the day weird people threatened the strength of the tribe. If you weren’t good for making food, shelter or babies, then you were tossed out on your own.” (132) People do not like differences and Arnold feels this. On the one side, Arnold wants to live within his community but then he should behave like others, which means to be hopeless and depressed. On the other side, he wants to make a difference and achieve something meaningful in life.

Arnold feels that he deserves more than staying in the community, so he decides to leave his “family” behind. He knows that there is hope in life; you just need to leave your place, leave your community, and search for your own path. When Arnold left the community to find hope he was treated as outsider, an alien. Arnold starts to realize that life is a struggle between an individual and a member of the community. He searches for his own identity outside the community, which results in struggle between his choices. On the one side, Arnold feels like a stranger who should search for his own self among his new friends; on the other side, he has an opportunity to continue to live a life in his native community but as a hopeless, depressed man, who does not strive to achieve his goals in life…

Analyzing Arnold’s constant struggle between being an individual and being a member of the community, I want to note that it is crucially important find your own identity, your own path to better life, your own purpose and meaning in life. Of course, life is a struggle when you need to make a choice but Arnold should become closer to those people who possess the same interests, hopes, and intentions, which might help him to pursue his dreams and achieve goals in life.

Works Cited:

Sherman Alexie. “The Absolute True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.” P.p. 77-151. Overview

The terms offer and acceptance. (2016, May 17). Retrieved from

[Accessed: June 30, 2022]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016.

[Accessed: June 30, 2022]

freeessays.club (2016) The terms offer and acceptance [Online].
Available at:

[Accessed: June 30, 2022]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: June 30, 2022]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: June 30, 2022]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: June 30, 2022]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: June 30, 2022]
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