What are the definitions of poverty? Can we learn anything from poverty? Many people hear the words poverty and have different meanings. I think poverty may mean a person who does not have enough money to do the things that they want to do. But, most people can afford to live only the things they truly need. In the book, “Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian” Junior, the main character, writes: “Poverty doesn’t give you strength or teach you lessons about perseverance. No, poverty only teaches you how to be poor. When it comes to being poor, Junior does nothing to justify poverty that is he doesn’t say that it makes him a stronger or better person. Instead, Junior views poverty as something incredible difficult to overcome, a condition that simply reinforces itself. To Junior, poverty is generational, it is an inherited condition, and it is not a choice. Poverty is something that he is born into.
“I wish I were magical, but I am really just a poor-ass reservation kid living with his poor-ass family on the poor-ass Spokane Indian Reservation. (p. 25) According to this quote, Junior’s family is just poor, and this pretty much determines a whole lot about Junior. Junior comes to the conclusion that he is just a poor kid, and noticed that Junior’s economic situation is not specific to his family. His entire reservation is impoverished. There is one memorable phrase about the book related to poverty, and that part is the most impressed me. Junior and his family when his beloved dog Oscar, “the only living thing he could depend on”(pg. ), is sick and, as the family cannot afford any treatment, Junior’s father shoots the dog to put him out of his misery. The poverty faced by his family is a never ending cycle. Junior knows that his family is unable to break the pattern for him and that he needs to break the cycle on his own. Junior comes from a culture of people who have forgotten how to hope and dream because of their poverty, and so Junior must move away from the cycle of poverty that threatens to engulf him. He escapes from his reservation to find his hope and dream, and become a rich person.
Junior decides to attend the neighbor white people high school in an attempt to get a good education and break himself out of the cycle of poverty. In conclusion, I see how poverty is not only for an individual, but for an entire community. I see how poverty has squashed hope on the reservation. Though poverty may not teach us anything, as Arnold is quick to tell us, Arnold’s fight for a better life inspires us and gives us hope that things can change. I learned not to give up, but to keep on fighting.