I think the most important conflict shown in Sherman Alexie’s True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is when Junior is faced with the choice of staying at the reservation or leaving to Reardan. This is a very significant moment in the book as this determined Junior’s future. Not only the near future but it had a large chance of impacting or maybe even changing the outcome of his entire life due to this one decision he would make. Junior himself knew this and knew that hope and risk was at Reardan while staying at the rez would mean safety and home, but also carried the fact that he won’t be able to express and work his life to his full potential if he stayed in the hopeless rez.
“Where is hope?” I asked. “Who has hope?”
“Son, you’re going to find more and more hope the farther and farther you walk way from this sad, sad, sad reservation.” (43)
After a deep and meaningful conversation about hope with Mr. P, Junior realizes that he won’t get anywhere if he stays home. He comes to an epiphany that success and true happiness for himself was anywhere but the reservation. This inner conflict saw two sides. If he left the reservation, he could be deemed a traitor. If he stayed, he wouldn’t find hope. Yet staying home seemed like the safest thing to do. Better safe than sorry? Maybe it wasn’t for Junior. He says “My sister is running away to get lost, but I am running away because I want to find something. And my parents love me so much that they want to help me.” (46)
It shows his thoughts that since he has will to leave and his parents are supportive, he will get something done, change the ways he is viewed by society with his choice to leave with the support he’s given. If his parents were against this idea, I think he might’ve not left the reservation at all.
This is a turning point for him in the entire story. If he decided not to leave, the outcome of the story would’ve been very different. Possibly, very negative as well.