Poverty on Reservations

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Aaron Witter
Period 2
Crack Open a Loan Account

Individuals that grow up with poverty in their lives end up committing actions that are out of desperation, enlarging their problems in the end. Alcohol quickly gets dragged into the picture when poverty comes up. In Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian poverty has its grasp on most members of the reservation, and many of them have drinking problems in order to deal with their fiscal troubles. All Junior has ever known is poverty, but he is able to recognize that his situation is bad. Junior analyzes his situation saying “it sucks to be poor, and it sucks even more to feel that you somehow deserve to be poor (13)”. Junior is aware of the fact that he is living in hard conditions. His poverty makes him think about why he is poor, and whether or not he did something wrong to somehow wind the way he did. “[He starts] believing that because [he is] Indian [he is] destined to be poor (13)”. Any truth behind this statement is completely non-existent, but Junior still thinks about, and raises the point. Anyone with this attitude has obviously thought about it a lot. After winter formal Junior and his friends go to a diner in Reardan where roger lends Junior some money to pay for food (126). Roger is being a really good guy helping out Junior without expecting anything in return. The helpless feeling Junior must be experiencing would be overwhelming, never knowing how to make ends meet. As bad as his poverty is, Junior has a larger problem to deal with in the menacing form of alcohol. The reason the presence of alcohol is felt so strongly on Indian reservations is the abuse that many people have. They don’t drink in moderation, and use the booze to cope with their lack of money. Junior never knows how he is going to get to school, and sometimes his dad is so hung-over that he has to just stay home (83). His dad is using the liquor to deal with his family’s situation, and to lessen...
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