"The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian" by Sherman Alexie, Chapters 1–7

Junior, a young cartoonist who lives on the Spokane Indian reservation, decides to transfer to school in which he will be the only American Indian student.

Here are links to our lists for the novel: Chapters 1–7, Chapters 8–14, Chapters 15–21, Chapters 22–26, Chapters 27–29

Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. cerebral
    of or relating to the brain
    I was actually born with too much cerebral spinal fluid inside my skull.
  2. lopsided
    having one side lower or smaller or lighter than the other
    My brain damage left me nearsighted in one eye and farsighted in the other, so my ugly glasses were all lopsided because my eyes were so lopsided.
  3. seizure
    a sudden attack of a disease, often characterized by spasms
    But the thing is, I was having those seizures because I already had brain damage, so I was reopening wounds each time I seized.
  4. susceptible
    yielding readily to or capable of
    I haven’t had a seizure in seven years, but the doctors tell me that I am “ susceptible to seizure activity.”
  5. impediment
    something immaterial that interferes with action or progress
    You wouldn’t think there is anything life threatening about speech impediments, but let me tell you, there is nothing more dangerous than being a lad with a stutter and a lisp.
  6. reservation
    a district that is set aside for a particular purpose
    So I draw because I feel like it might be my only real chance to escape the reservation.
  7. woe
    misery resulting from affliction
    And now I’m sure you’re asking, “Okay, okay, Mr. Hunger Artist, Mr. Mouth-Full-of-Words, Mr. Woe-Is-Me, Mr. Secret Recipe, what is the worst thing about being poor?”
  8. whimper
    cry weakly or softly
    He whimpered in pain.
  9. yelp
    bark in a high-pitched tone
    When I touched him, he yelped like crazy.
  10. elder
    a person of more advanced age
    I was too young to deal blackjack at the casino, there were only about fifteen green grass lawns on the reservation (and none of their owners outsourced the mowing jobs), and the only paper route was owned by a tribal elder named Wally.
  11. tsunami
    a cataclysm resulting from a destructive sea wave
    Tsunami mad.
  12. perseverance
    persistent determination
    Poverty doesn’t give you strength or teach you lessons about perseverance.
  13. depressed
    filled with melancholy and despondency
    After Oscar died, I was so depressed that I thought about crawling into a hole and disappearing forever.
  14. brawl
    to quarrel noisily, angrily or disruptively
    This was the 127th annual one, and there would be singing, war dancing, gambling, storytelling, laughter, fry bread, hamburgers, hot dogs, arts and crafts, and plenty of alcoholic brawling.
  15. persistent
    Rowdy isn’t a fast reader, but he’s persistent.
  16. ambidextrous
    equally skillful with each hand
    I’m ambidextrous.
  17. savior
    a person who rescues you from harm or danger
    prison-work farm for our liberal, white, vegetarian do-gooders and conservative, white missionary saviors.
  18. supposedly
    believed or reputed to be the case
    Some of our teachers make us eat birdseed so we’ll feel closer to the earth, and other teachers hate birds because they are supposedly minions of the Devil.
  19. minion
    a servile or fawning dependant
    Some of our teachers make us eat birdseed so we’ll feel closer to the earth, and other teachers hate birds because they are supposedly minions of the Devil.
  20. decrepit
    worn and broken down by hard use
    And let me tell you, that old, old, old, decrepit geometry book hit my heart with the force of a nuclear bomb.
  21. interrogate
    pose a series of questions to
    He was, like, interrogating me.
  22. half-breed
    an offensive term for an offspring of parents of different races (especially of Caucasian and American Indian ancestry)
    Those romances always featured a love affair between a virginal white schoolteacher or preacher’s wife and a half-breed Indian warrior.
  23. burden
    an onerous or difficult concern
    I was carrying the burden of my race, you know?
  24. vow
    We all got really mad and vowed to kick their asses the next game.
  25. tumor
    an abnormal new mass of tissue that serves no purpose
    “I’m as serious as a tumor.”

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