Grade 9s,

In a well-developed paragraph, respond to the following question:


Based on our readings so far, what is Junior’s most significant internal or external conflict? What makes this conflict more significant than the rest? For example, is the most significant conflict in Junior’s life his struggle against poverty / his family / disability / his cultural background / his own sense of self worth? Why? Provide at least two pieces of textual evidence (with page numbers) in your response and remember to ‘unpack’ and explain how these quotations help to add to your initial statement / argument.

Due on Tuesday, December 11th, at the start of class. Responses should take the form of a ‘post’ on your blog. This will be marked based on the ‘At a Glance’ scale. Be ready to discuss with your peers in class on Tuesday. 


In The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, Junior’s most significant conflict is with his race and privilege because his struggle with coming to terms with who he really is negatively impacts his life and relationships. Junior realizes this and transfers to Reardan to try and break the barrier between the community on the reservation and the rest of the world. He wants to become successful and receive the same opportunities and treatment that he would get if he was of more privilege, or more specifically, white. When Junior first arrives at Reardan, the white kids stare at him as if he’s “Bigfoot or a UFO,” and he asks himself what he’s doing at “racist Reardan, where more than half of every graduating class went to college […] nobody in [his] family had ever gone near a college” (56). One of the biggest barriers between him and his wants are his struggles with his societal standing. Indians aren’t known to succeed, at least based on Junior’s observations; no one in Junior’s family, or even on the reservation, is really succeeding in life. They don’t take chances or challenge the system that was so lovingly crafted by the United States Congress once upon a time. His race is always going to be a defining part of who he is, but Junior wants to be dynamic and to not be just another example of a washed-up Indian on the rez. As Mr. P tells Junior before Junior transfers to Reardan, “all these [reservation] kids have given up. All your friends. All the bullies. And their mothers and fathers have given up, too […] we’re all defeated,” (42). This spurs Junior to realize that he has to change in order to escape the hopeless cycle that his community is trapped in. He’s still a kid and often perpetuates the racism and injustice shown towards his people (whether intentionally or not) but at the end of the day, he knows that he can’t be static if he wants to stop enduring the alcohol-fueled resignation of the Indians around him. In conclusion, he wants to rise above stereotypes and racism and be given the opportunities and the success that he deserves.


Tips for Paragraph Writing:

☐ Use present tense verbs to discuss actions.

☐ Avoid using “I” pronouns (e.g. instead of saying “I believe Junior’s most significant conflict is…..” say “Junior’s most significant conflict is…..”)

☐ Unify paragraph around a ‘single’ statement / clear topic sentence.

☐ Remember to PEE in your paragraph.

☐ Provide direct evidence / examples from the text and include page numbers and integrate them smoothly into your own sentence structure.

☐ Include story title and author’s name in the introduction of paragraph (ex: The most significant conflict Junior faces in Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is ______________________ because ______________________).

☐ Read aloud to check for run-ons / fragments /flow.

☐ Avoid simply summarizing the plot.