This story connects to the issue of Identity because, at the beginning of the story, Junior's problem of hydrocephalus and his angry best friend Rowdy is brought up, which puts awareness on how people’s characteristics since being born can outline their characteristics, inferring that Junior originally contains a minor but negative tale of identity that doesn’t alter noticeably through the story. The dilemma of Junior's choice to travel away from his Spokane reservation where he started from, which several locals on the reservation saw as a first step to becoming white and exposes Junior’s identity to reconsideration and leaves him with two alternative names: on the Spokane reservation he’s Junior, but in Reardan, he’s referred to as Arnold. Another reference was discovering Junior's name or who Junior is, his goals, and the type of person he’ll become is the purpose of Junior’s choice to attend Reardan high school. Toward the back half of the novel, Junior understands his identity is compiled of associations with several tribes “the basketball team, the cartoonists, and his friends who missed him.' They strengthen his identity, and at the same time, Junior hopes that by asserting himself in the right ways, he can bring good things back to the communities that supported him.
This story connects to the issue of Power and Privilege because one of the main differences between life on the reservation and life at Reardan is that most of the families on the reservation, including Junior’s, are poor. Embarrassed by his poverty, Junior does everything he can to keep his Reardan classmates from understanding the true state of affairs. Junior and others on the reservation, associated whiteness with privilege, hope, and opportunity. They also believed that privilege was unfairly given, and not earned. The white students at Reardan were shown to be financially better off, but Junior is surprised to learn that the privilege that accompanies wealth and the color of their skin, doesn’t always protect his friends from pain and problems like his friends Gordy and Penelope.
This story connects to the issue of Oppression because on Junior’s first day of high school at Wellpinit, he was excited about geometry class, but when the teacher Mr. P passed out the textbooks, Junior realized that the books are at least thirty years old since his mother signature was on it showing the lack of funding his local high school had. When Junior is often thoughtless in his description of the discrimination he encounters at school, it’s clear that this plays a major role in his life. The stereotypes about Native Americans also have become so ingrained in their society, that Junior almost believes in them himself whole-heartily.
This story connects to the issue of Fairness because Junior chooses to live a life of opportunity and possibility. He wanted things to change, and he was given a second chance to succeed. Arnold set himself up to graduate from a more prestigious high school despite the setback of getting expelled and met people from different walks of life along the way. This is a personal growth that will continue to benefit Junior for the rest of his life. Arnold knows that the reservation isn’t the place where dreams always come true several and even talks about the dreams his parents and sister had, and who they would be if they weren't Indians living on a reservation if they had better opportunities.
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