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Tasks: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Tasks to chapter 1 of "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian" by Sherman Alexie.

Chapter 1: The Black-Eye-of-the-Month Club


Here are the answers. Make the questions.

  1. I just call it brain grease.
  2. It was a giant French fry.
  3. The doctors cut it open.
  4. I wouldn’t be writing this if I didn’t.
  5. I was six months old.
  6. They pulled them out in ONE day.
  7. They were like enemies, like they used to be married to each other but then hated each other.
  8. Like a capital L.
  9. Because of it, they called me Orbit.
  10. Susceptible to seizure activity.
  11. You become the biggest retard in the world.
  12. That’s the only way I can become rich and famous.

Style and Imagery

  1. How would this text have appeared if it had been written in a matter-of-fact style:
    I was born with water on the brain and had surgery when I was 6 months old. Due to the brain damage my head is very big and it has also caused seizures and eye and speech impairments. I was also very poor since I am an Indian”?
    Would you have found it interesting? What makes Junior’s version more interesting to read? Give examples.
  2. A lot of images and comparisons are used in this text. One example is “French fry”. Find them and explain them. How do these images contribute to our understanding of the text?

The American Dream

  1. Read the paragraph about Junior and the cartoons.
    a. What does he mean when he refers to the cartoons as his “lifeboats”?
    b. Referring to the cartoons, he says: “That’s the only way I can become rich and famous.” How is this linked to the American Dream?
  2. Make a table with two columns. The heading of the first column is Cons. The heading of the second column is Pros. Sum up all the handicaps and odds (the cons) that might prevent Junior from fulfilling the American Dream. Sum up the resources, abilities and odds (the pros) that might enable Junior to fulfill his goals.
  3. Then discuss if his disabilities and disadvantages might be an explanation of his success.
  4. Why do you think the author chose to give the first chapter the title "The Black-Eye-Of-The-Month Club"?


  1. Why do you think Junior becomes the reservation’s outcast?
  2. Junior talks about his handicaps in a humorous way. Is it because he does not care or does not think that it matters?
  3. Do you think it is morally right to make fun of physical handicaps?
  4. In spite of all his handicaps and the odds against him, Junior is, in many respects, a winner. In which respect does he succeed? And how do you think he achieves this success?

Creative Task

Based on your reading of the first chapter and having watched the 60 second book review at the top of this article, design a book cover for this novel.

Relatert innhold

CC BY-SASkrevet av Åse Elin Langeland og Eli M. Huseby.
Sist faglig oppdatert 24.01.2019


Indigenous Cultures and Traditions