AO2: ‘How does the narrator describe his thoughts and feelings of the characters? You should support your answer with close reference to the passage’ by Khadija Kayani


The extract ‘Telling Rowdy’ has been taken from the novel ‘The Absolutely True Diary of a part-time Indian’ written by Sherman Alexie.

The Genre of this passage is non-fiction and is written in the first person point of view (Junior’s). The tone is informal, sad and casual. The intended audience of this passage is general audience or young adults to be more precise. The purpose of this passage is to entertain and draw attention to the difficult lives of the Native Indian Americans. The theme generated is friendship and how it can be deceiving.

From the opening lines of the passage ‘I was the ONLY kid, white or Indian, who knew that Charles Dickens wrote A Tale of two cities’, this appears to be one of the compelling factors behind Junior’s decision to move to Reardon. Comparison between Indian and white people has been made, as the line ‘They were filled with hope’ shows how white people were superior to the people at Rez. The Rez is basically a reservation where Native Indian Americans lived separately from the rest of the American population. Furthermore, it lacked formal education and the basic necessities of life, not to forget poverty. ‘Man, I was scared of those Reardon kids, and maybe I was scared of hope too’. This line signifies that Junior feared the class difference.

When junior leaves the reservation to attend high school in Reardon, Rowdy not only refuses to go with him, but also punches junior, screaming that he hates him.

Simple Language has been used and words like ‘wuss’ have been introduced making the tone overall, informal. Assertive tone is adopted to reveal Junior’s decision, such as the use ellipses ‘I’m doing it….. I’m going to Reardon tomorrow’  putting emphasis on the statement.

Similes for example ‘I’m as serious as a tumor’ are used to show the seriousness of Junior’s issue.  Rowdy gets really angry and frustrated upon hearing that Junior was leaving Rez, and wasn’t ready to accept the reality. Whereas, Junior desperately wants to leave as he is motivated, he wants to lead a better life and for the sake of his education plus future career life. However, Rowdy feels disheartened almost as if a part of him is taken away. Hyperbole’s such as ‘My heart broke in to fourteen pieces one for each year Rowdy and I had been friends’ is used for exaggeration.

Junior tells us that the Reardon kids were “magnificent,” “beautiful,” they “knew everything,” and they were “filled with hope” .Hope, for Junior, is a mythical creature because of the class difference. Moreover, motive behind Rowdy’s anger included the fact that nobody had left the reservation and went to Reardon along with that, he is on the verge of losing his one and only best friend Junior.

Elements of shock and surprise have been mentioned, especially the time when Junior discloses his decision and Rowdy reacts by saying ‘You’re really serious?’. Onomatopoeias for example ‘Bang! Bang!’ is used to create an effect on the situation, when Rowdy punches Junior. The atmosphere had been pretty intense.

Dialogues are used to maintain a smooth conversational flow and paragraphs are constructed. Alliterations are used such as ‘Rowdy, I’m sorry, I said I’m sorry…’ again for emphasis. Varied sentence structures are present, from simple to compound and complex sentences. A simple sentence may include ‘I started crying’. An image of Junior is given towards the end of the story to show the readers the physical appearance of the protagonist.

The extract revolved around Junior’s hope and his decision to move to Reardon as he wants to attain good education. However upon this news, his best friend Rowdy is completely taken aback and knocks Junior down before leaving.

The passage leaves the reader with an unsatisfactory and sad feeling as its devastating to leave your best friend at the altar and turn your back against him/her. There is smooth yet heart-wretching transition between the two best friends who later become each other’s worst enemies towards the end of the extract.


About froebelianwriters

I am an English Language teacher teaching O'Levels Edexcel and CIE A Levels at Froebel's International School, Islamabad. I am also working as a Subject Specialist Literacy consultant for the same school. Writing and reading has always been a passion and I try my utmost to instill these habits and hobbies in my students as well. I can be reached/contacted at or 03365287335 Happy reading!

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