In Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, the protagonist, Junior faces many conflicts, the biggest one being the external conflict between himself and his reservation. No matter what Junior choses to do, he is always discriminated and made fun of. At the beginning of the story Junior states “Everybody on the rez calls me a retard about twice a day,” showing that when Junior went to school on the reservation, people made fun of him for the way he looked and the way he acted (4). However, when Junior switches to go to school at Reardan, the problem rather than being solved, escalates. His best, and arguably only friend on the reservation, turns his back to him and some people on the reservation portray him as a backstabber and traitor for leaving them for the white community. On Halloween, he goes trick or treating on the reservation to help Penelope earn money for the homeless. In a turn of events, Junior loses all the money he earned when a group of people on the reservation attack him because “they just wanted to remind me that I was a traitor” (79). This wasn’t the only sign that the reservation was against Junior. At the basketball game, everyone boos when the Reardan team walks through the doors, and Rowdy even throws a coin hard enough to create a cut in Junior’s head. This reveals that Junior cannot gain respect from everyone on the reservation no matter what he does. On the reservation he is made fun of for his appearance and off the reservation, he is discriminated for being a traitor to the Indians. Junior is always in a constant quarrel with the reservation itself, and the people on it.
“Reflect on your inquiry question and how your understanding is changing, becoming more focused, or is perhaps being reaffirmed by your research. What do you now know that you didn’t know when you started this inquiry?”
My inquiry question began with being a little bit too broad. I wanted to learn about persuasive advertising in general, but now I realize that I want to focus more on the specific techniques that advertisers use to convince their audience to buy their product. Things such as celebrity endorsement, or symbolism. Specifically looking into the visual concepts and what the audience first sees, rather than the writing and spoken pieces in advertisements. To do this I will be steering away from ads on the radio and infomercials, as these often have a vocal explanation accompanying them. I want to focus more on media like magazines, commercial videos on tv and ads online.
Over my time spent studying this subject I have learned about how advertisements appeal to people’s emotions with Logos, Pathos and Ethos. I have researched different visual concepts that look attractive and draw attention. In a way advertising is similar to art. It relies on how people perceive it individually, however where art doesn’t require one way of perception ( In fact that is often what makes it so interesting) Advertising depends on a strategic use of different techniques to make people experience them in a compelling way, in a way that makes them want to purchase the product/service.
I will be continuing my zip project with the new question:
“What makes a visually effective persuasive advertisement?”
Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give to yourself at the start of your inquiry?
I would tell myself to not make a list of all of the many websites I think would be useful, as I have found that there are many sources that can be accessed easily. I spent maybe an hour on the first night looking for as many helpful sources as I could, but it really wasn’t all that necessary. I do have a long list of websites now, but I haven’t really used any of them, causing all of the work I did to be for nothing. Instead, I would have told myself to write down the sites as I come across them, which it what I have been doing as well. It is hard to tell which sites I have actually used and which sites I want to use in the future.
A concept that I have learned about is the idea of asking questions to further a political argument. The book I am currently reading is called The Social Contract by Jean-Jacques Rousseau.I find that Rousseau does a good job of asking questions to further his argument. For example, while discussing the ‘right of the first occupant’, Rousseau poses the question “Is it enough to put one’s feet on a piece of common land in order to claim it at once as one’s own?” (67). This question is thought-provoking, deep, and forces the reader to reflect on the status quo. He provokes curiosity and inquisitiveness, and encourages the reader to continue reading. Finally, the way the question is worded is designed to nudge the reader towards Rousseau’s opinion. All these factors fit together to persuade and convince the reader that Rousseau’s argument is sound.
This information will be useful for others as it will help make their writing more effective. Asking questions in writing encourages readers to think anout the topic, and pushes the reader to continue reading.
One of the greatest external conflicts that Junior has is the fact that he is in poverty. The fact that he is in poverty constricts many things that he is able to do. He tells us about taking Penelope to his schools Winter Formal “The thing is, I only had five dollars, not nearly enough to pay for anything,” and he “lied about how poor I was,” (119). Since he is in poverty he not only doesn’t have the access to nicer things, he also doesn’t have access to the better respect from people. He is somewhat socially awkward and he is scared that if he tells people how poor he is then they wouldn’t like him. Poverty does not only effect him physically, for example not having access to food all the time. It also effects him mentally, because poor people are looked down upon in Reardan. The physical effects poverty have on him will be forever until his family or him gets a better income, but the mental effects have already started to go away.
Based on our reading of Sherman Alexie’s The absolutely true diary of a Part-Time Indian, the most significant external conflict is Junior’s struggle to prove the Rearden society that he is equal to them. Many times throughout the story, it is shown how Junior is shamed due to his race, an example being this confrontation between Junior and his science teacher: “Where did you learn this fact? On the reservation? Yes, we all know there is so much amazing science on the reservation.” (85). This quote is just one of the many examples of a moment where Junior is discriminated. We can also observe Junior complaining about this to the audience in many situations: “I knew I’d have to put a stop to it eventually or I’d always be known as “Chief” or “Tonto” or “Squaw Boy”” (64). Junior is constantly looked down upon, and he needs to fight to prove that he is just as equal as all the other kids. Although this situation practically matches him Junior against the whole school and American culture, Junior is determined to be successful and win this fight on the behalf of all Indigenous people.
I started reading interactive stories as a means of information. I take notes on their pros, cons and other interesting notes. There is not too much information online so reading looks like it’s going to be my main source of information. When reading these stories, I get a first-hand look at what makes them good, bad, interesting and how they differ from each other. This is helpful because I get to make my own opinions without someone on the internet bias-ing up an article for me to read. I also like reading these stories, they are engaging and fun to read. There is also such a wide variety of stories to choose from. I can read action, horror, suspense, adventure and all of them offer a unique, interactive experience. I get to see how the authors make the different genres interactive and engaging. This lets me dig deeper into my research than looking at a website. Overall, I have found a reliable source of research and information that is also effective.
The most significant conflict in Junior’s life is the racism that he has faced throughout his whole life. Junior’s opportunities are limited because people fail to see past his race. The reason that Junior lives on the rez in such poverty is because his race has been ridiculed and exiled for generations. His family has been caught in a cycle of hardships and lost opportunities solely because they are Indian. Junior explains this concept when he says “we residential Indians don’t get to realize our dreams. […] We’re just poor” (13). Junior, his parents and sister grew up with dreams and aspirations, but they never got the chance to accomplish them because of their race. This concept is portrayed perfectly when his parents answer “white people” when Junior asks them who has the most hope (45). It is because of the prejudice that Junior faces that he decides to transfer to Reardan. Despite Reardan having much better learning resources, people’s perception of Junior’s race still holds him back from his full potential. An example of this is when he corrects Mr. Dodge after he incorrectly explains what petrified wood is. After Junior finishes explaining the correct definition, Mr. Dodge responds by asking, “where did you learn this fact? On the reservation? Yes, we all know there’s so much amazing science on the rez” (85). Following this comment, Mr. Dodge asks Gordy to answer the same question. When Gordy explains that Junior is correct, Mr. Dodge thanks Gordy and ignores Junior. This shows that Junior is being put down and insulted without reason solely because of his race. Junior transferred to Reardan to create better learning opportunities for himself yet he is still faced with racisms that disallow him from growing as a person. In conclusion, the prejudice that Junior and his family faced have put him through many hardships that have severely affected his life and opportunities.
What is a specific source of information that you have found valuable in answering your inquiry question? How has it proved valuable?
I found an extremely viable source for analyzing lyrics. This source includes author’s official intention for the song as well as other people’s personal connections and how they connected the song to the world and within the text. The site is called www.genius.com and includes almost every song that you can think of. We were introduced to this song during socials last year and used it to analyze our assigned Hamilton songs. After that, I never really looked at it, as I like to listen to songs and not know the artist’s true intention behind the meaning. Now that I’ve started ZIP, I’m forcing myself to open myself up to other points of view instead of limiting myself to what I want to see or what I want the song to convey. The website also has exclusive interviews with the artists contributing to the song. They commonly talk about what their inspiration for a song was or how it reflects on their personal lives. I find that this adds another layer to the song’s depth, how the same words can affect different people in different ways.
In these first few days of my ZIP project I have come up with a few ideas for additional questions that I would like to explore throughout the project. The most important one concerns characters and character development. Characters are very important in texts, but they are especially important in A Game of Thrones. A Game of Thrones is built upon the interactions between a large variety of characters. And before I began reading it, I didn’t realize that the characters would be so important. My inquiry question is “How does adapting a narrative for television change its meaning.” I feel that this question doesn’t focus on characters enough. However, focusing on characters may distract me from my original goals of examining the meanings and the messages portrayed in different texts. However, I do think it’s important to address this somewhat in my final presentation.