A Social Commentary on the Illustrations in the Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian

June 7, 2021 by Essay Writer

Response to Illustrations in The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

This book is reminiscent of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, albeit on a much more sophisticated level. Both books attempt to tell a story with the aid of visual images, mostly for a humorous effect. They both are narrated in the first-person and seek to tell a tale about a young adult going through life, dealing with problems like school, romance, and family. And they each use humor to do it. Where they differ in terms of illustrations, however, is important to note, and defines a critical aspect of what defines Alexie’s novel.

Apart from mere quantity (Diary of a Wimpy Kid has illustrations on almost every if not every single page while ATD’s drawings are more scattered), the drawings in Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian each give some sort of subtle statement (no alliteration intended). While Jeff Kinney’s comedic series is mainly aimed at entertainment, Sherman Alexie’s novel is rife with political and social commentary that discusses the roles different ethnicities of people play in modern society; the illustrations enhance and emphasize the point of the author by visually exaggerating the problems Junior faces. The perspective of the protagonist with regard to such racism—as troubling as it is in text form—is expanded by the drawings which further his points.

As his character is introduced, it is revealed that a large part of Junior’s identity lies in his creative cartoons and drawings, so the first few included in the novel are lighthearted and blithe. As the social commentary begins to expand, however, the subtle statements begin to show themselves, and they grow more and more serious in nature as the story progresses.

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