‘AO2: Telling Rowdy’ by Zahra Khan


This passage has been elicited from a fictional novel, “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian” by Sherman Alexie. The text is conformed as a narrative short story, with two main objectives. The first is to entertain the reader. The second, more important aim is to draw attention to the miserable life that many Native Americans lead on reservations.

The story revolves around two Indian boys, Rowdy and Junior, who reside on a reservation in D.C. Junior believes that life on the reservation is balking his road to a better future, and has made an imperturbable decision to attend Rearden, a school for white children. However, he must tell his best friend Rowdy, that he is leaving.

This passage is intended for audiences of all ages. With regard to this, the diction is simple so that it can be comprehended by readers of all ages. The text is mainly composed of dialogue, and narrations from Junior are present.

The tone of this passage is very informal, with contractions being a large part of it. The theme of the extract is friendship. It realistically depicts what happens when two friends make a resolute decision to go their separate ways. It also shows how a broken friendship can mar a person.

Figures of speech are common in this passage and are used for a common purpose: to stress upon a particular aspect of the text or dialogue. The following F.O.S. are significant in the passage.

Firstly, similes are used .this is to highlight a specific aspect of the text or to emphasize the character’s feelings for instance, Junior says “ I’m as serious as a tumour” it implies that Junior has made a final decision and is removing rowdy’s doubts about the topic.

In addition, hyperbole is also present. When Junior says “I’m going to die if I don’t”. His manifest desperation causes the audience to sympathize with him, along with noticing the poverty and misery of the reservation.

Lastly, a metaphor is used: “Rowdy stopped screaming with his mouth but kept screaming with his eyes. This project to the readers Rowdy’s state of utter devastation and anger.

A number of literary techniques are also utilized to influence the reader’s thoughts and highlight important ideas.

The first significant technique is repetition. Positive vocabulary is used to describe white children and words like beautiful and smart are used emphasize how much Junior idolizes them.

Another consequent technique is comparison. The white children are compared to the Indians, by using an example from a famous novel ‘A tale of two cities’. The white children are referred to as the best of times. The Indians, in contrast, are referred to as the worst of times. This highlights the obvious envy Junior feels towards the white children.

The feelings of both characters are depicted using very strong expressions. Junior feels desperate to leave the reservation. He thinks that at Rearden, he can live up to his full potential, free of the restrictions of poverty. On the other hand, he feels sad and guilty about leaving his lifelong best friend Rowdy. Thus, his feelings collate, and he is forced to choose between his friend and his education.

Rowdy feels ravaged at the thought of his friend leaving him, and does everything he can to sway him. He feels indignant that his best friend is abandoning him, and his anger turns into resentment, causing him to hurt Junior.

In conclusion, I believe that the writer has, through skillful use of adjectives, F.O.S., and a variety of literary techniques, managed to weave anger, grief and guilt into a convincing tapestry of a broken friendship, while at the same time using direct language, making it suitable for young audiences.

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 fabbas227@hotmail.com or 03365287335 Happy reading!

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