Sherman Alexie in “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” narrates the story of Junior who is a potential cartoonist in the region of Spokane Indian Reservation. Junior has the determination of taking his future in his own hands which is why he leaves the troubled school in order to attend an all-white farm town high school where there is only one other Indian student who is a mascot.
Arnold Spirit is the full name of Junior, whose story is narrated in first person by the narrator. Chapter 30 narrator writes about the beauty of the reservation due to all the old and tall pine trees; the narrator has even climbed many of these trees. Junior along with Rowdy has climbed one of these biggest pines in the Turtle Lake when they were young.
That was the time when they dreamed about playing for the team of NBA and have air conditioning. Arnold remembers how they decided to go swimming in the lake one day but he was scared that he would sink since no one ever had seen the bottom of the lake. There were myths regarding the lake that it was “forever deep” and made by a volcano. It was also said that the lake was haunted by ghosts and monsters.
According to Arnold’s dad, he has also seen a horse in the lake; there is a legend that a “stupid horse” drowned in the lake and the body washed up to a shore of another lake which is miles away. The legend states that when the body of the horse was burned, weirdly the water of the Turtle Lake also caught fire. It was days later when the corpse of the horse was found on the shore of the turtle lake again and no one messed up with it and it stayed on the sore rotting.
10 year old Arnold and Rowdy whilst going to the turtle lake saw a beautiful and tall pine. Junior hesitates when Rowdy mentions about climbing the tree, yet they climb it. It was a place from where they could see the whole reservation. However, eventually Rowdy farted and they climbed down the pine.
Arnold recalls that how both of them climbed the pine up to the top, and how the reservation looked from up there like “green and golden and perfect”. Now it seems unbelievable for Arnold that he climbed the tree to such a height. He also cannot believe that he was able to survive his first year at his school in Reardan. He could not believe that he was able to shift to Reardan or any of the terrifying and beautiful things that he had done.
Arnold becomes hopeful about his future in the school after it ends for the summer. He misses his all his white friends. Once Arnold is killing time in his living room when Rowdy stops by to meet Arnold; he says that he was bored. Junior at first thinks of making his friend apologize since he believes that Rowdy had wronged him in the past. But they reconcile and banter a little and then Arnold drops the idea of shooting some hoops. Rowdy is reluctant at first but then he agrees.
For some time both Arnold and Rowdy shoot the ball and play basketball. After a certain amount of time both of them decide that they should go one on one. It is during the game that Arnold decides to ask Rowdy to come to meet him to Reardan. He even asks Rowdy to come to him in Reardan and meet him, but Rowdy denies the idea.
Rowdy talks about reading some book during the game; he says that once he read a book which was about the Indians of the old times. He further states how the book narrated about the old time Indians as nomads. After Rowdy says so he puts forth the idea that he held about Arnold; he says that according to him Arnold is also nomadic.
The book that Rowdy read was about the nomads of the Native American tribes. He tells Arnold that he reminded him of those tribes, since like the tribes Junior is also moving around in constant manner. Rowdy admits that he always knew Junior would leave and travel the whole world.
After the conversation of the book ceases, Rowdy tells Arnold about a dream that he had about Arnold. He says that in his dream he saw Arnold, who was standing on the Great Wall of China. This is when Rowdy mentions that he was very happy for Arnold and his position. Arnold becomes sentimental and cries.
Rowdy knows that Arnold will go back to Reardan soon which is why he makes Arnold promise to send him postcards regularly. Arnold in his self assessment gets to know that he will miss his friend Rowdy and he will also miss his family. He realizes that he will always love the people of the reservation including the ones who are alive and dead. It is hard for him to leave them and hopes that he can forgive himself one day for leaving them and his home in the Reservation.
Arnold feels really bad about leaving his friends and family behind and hopes he can forgive himself and also hopes that his family can forgive him. Having all these thoughts in mind, both Arnold and Rowdy continue to play one on one shooting game. They play for a long time through the night.
However, no one keeps the score in track, which indicates their friendship and the perception that Junior has about life; they have moved far beyond the concept of winning and losing. This was the year that made Arnold realize that the bonds with people are of far more significance than success and the constant need to prove one’s self worth.