A True Story

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Part-Time
Every person has a different idea about who they are, where they come from and what they stand for. Not every aspect of who a person is is something they get to define for oneself. Sherman Alexie’s book, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, and Roddy Doyle’s story, “Home to Harlem”, inspire the idea of an identity crisis of two young men because from an outsider’s perspective, they feel they are not good enough for their own heritage. Arnold from “True Diary” and Declan from “Home to Harlem” experience the same issues of not feeling acceptable to their own culture; they feel they are too different, with Declan being black and Arnold wanting more for himself, to be a true Indian or Irishman. However, culture is not something defined by an outsider’s view; you are born and/or raised into a culture and no matter where one goes, they will always truly be a part of that culture.

The Irish people and the American Indian people have many of the same cultural identities. Stereotypes are cast upon both of these heritages which lead to the Irish people and the American Indian people to even play into them. The Irish are stereotyped by Robert Bell in “Document B”, written in the late 18th century, as angry drunks who like to start riots and quarrels and he calls them peasants quite a lot implying they are poor. Robert Bell also states, “Good humor and contentment always prevailed at those meetings as long as they drank no whiskey: but whenever that fiery spirit was introduced, intoxication and quarrels were the inevitable consequences” (75). He was implying that they can drink, but if they drank just a bit too much, there would be fighting no matter what. He never forgets to mention the fact that they will fight if alcohol is involved. A lot of these same stereotypes fall onto the American Indians, such as poverty being common and a lot of drinking. Arnold in “True Diary” states, “But we reservation Indians don’t get to realize our dreams. We don’t...
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