Metacognitive Reflection Essay
During this unit, we looked at different videos, documentaries and read the book "The Absolutely True Diary of A Part-time Indian". While analyzing the novel, my thinking about life on Indian reservations, poverty and Character Development has changed.
At the beginning of the book, Arnold describes his whole family is living with depression. He explained how both of his parents could have been successful if people pay attention to their talents on pg.12 with an image. The image shows how his mom could have been a college professor since she was very smart as Arnold describes her as "a human tape recorder". It also shows his dad as The Fifth Best Sax Player west of the Mississippi. Instead, his Mom is an ex-alcoholic and his Father is an alcoholic at the moment. I used to think that this only happened to some families who just got unlucky, but according to Arnold, he says " but we reservation Indians don't get to realize our dreams. We don't get those chances or choices. We're just poor. That's all we are."(pg.13 Alexi). This changed my thinking because the text is saying that no matter how smart you are on the reservation, nobody will ever pay attention to you because you are poor. This is outrageous because it shouldn't matter if you come from a wealthy family or a not as fortunate family, people should recognize you for your talents. My thinking has changed because after reading this text, I know that the Indian families go through a lot, and if only people gave them opportunities to do what they love, they could have led a better life, instead of living on a reservation where all the deaths are related to alcohol and where the kids have to go to residential school. Instead of teachers trying to assimilate their children, they could have had better living conditions if people gave them a chance.
While continuing reading the book, we saw as Arnold's Character changing. As I read the beginning of the book, Arnold had moved schools, I thought that he would turn into this whitewashed Indian, meaning he was an Indian on the outside but white on the inside since he only talked to his white friends. Then at the end of the book, as we read about the basketball game and how his team won, I thought he changed into a completely different person. I thought that he completely turned his back against the Indians. But I was wrong, he felt completely awful after the game because he knew what all those kids go through every day. They would go home, work as hard as they can and make a big effort yet, in the future, they would not be able to pursue their careers This win would have been something to look forward to. As a result, the next day Arnold e-mailed Rowy is saying that he was sorry for beating them in the game. This was the first time that Rowdy even talked to him ever since he moved to Reardan then, later on, they became friends again. At the beginning of the book, I thought that character development for stories that involve 1 boy who's just innocent and sweet always end up being a horrible person. They start to take everything for granted, but in this story, Arnold realized his mistakes and apologized. This makes me think that Character development isn't always a bad thing. I learned that throughout the whole journey of the main character is important and all the events affect the development.
As we went further into the unit we watched a Ted talk " the story we tell about poverty isn't true". This Ted Talk was told by Mia Birdsong. In the Ted talk, she gives many examples of different families living in poverty, but that what I already expected and knew about. I knew that they're were less fortunate families, I just thought it was because they didn't work hard enough, or when they were given the chance to do something they did it wrong, which is how they ended up in this whole situation. But as I watched the documentary, she explains how we should stop telling the story saying " that hard work leads to success". She was explaining how this allows us to believe the people "who make it deserve it and the people who don't make it don't deserve it". She explains how we all think that it's the people in poverty's fault, for example thinking that there just lazy people who didn't even want to go to work so they ended up living on the streets. But she said that's not true, she gives many examples of people who have worked so many hours to try to keep their family together and told a story about 3 wives who got together to start a cleaning business to help out their husbands. This changed my thinking by knowing that just because you didn't succeed, doesn't mean that you didn't try your hardest. Some people didn't get the opportunity to pursue a career which is why they ended up in this situation.
Throughout this whole unit, my thinking about Indian reservation, character development, and poverty has changed based on the book " Absolutely True Diary of A Part-time Indian" and The Ted talk " the story we tell about poverty isn't true".
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