The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

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Roger Character Analysis

A star basketball and football player and a popular senior at Reardan High School. Junior calls him “Roger the Giant.” When Junior first arrives in Reardan, Roger calls him “Chief” and tells him a racist joke, for which Junior punches him. After that, Roger, who is also friends with Penelope, respects Junior and they eventually become friendly, with Roger lending Junior money, driving him home, and reaching out to him as he tries out for the school basketball team.

Roger Quotes in The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

The The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian quotes below are all either spoken by Roger or refer to Roger. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Identity, Belonging, and Coming-of-Age Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Little, Brown and Company edition of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian published in 2009.
Chapter 8 Quotes

I felt brave all of a sudden. Yeah, maybe it was just a stupid and immature school yard fight. Or maybe it was the most important moment of my life. Maybe I was telling the world that I was no longer a human target.

Related Characters: Junior (Arnold Spirit, Jr.) (speaker), Roger
Page Number: 65
Explanation and Analysis:

This passage comes when Junior has just defended his honor by punching Roger after Roger told a racist joke. This is a moment of huge growth for Junior, who has been bullied all his life and has relied on Rowdy to protect him. Without Rowdy nearby, Junior can finally come into his own and protect his own values and dignity, which is important to his coming of age.

This moment also shows that Junior is committed to protecting and defending his identity as an Indian, even though he is attending the white school and his tribe thinks he is a traitor. He could have chosen to ignore Roger's casual racism and try to fit in with the white students by not standing out, but instead he asserted himself as who he is: an Indian who won't be messed with. This proves to be a good choice for Junior, as it is asserting his real identity that allows him to eventually be accepted socially.

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Roger Character Timeline in The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

The timeline below shows where the character Roger appears in The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 8 - How to Fight Monsters
Identity, Belonging, and Coming-of-Age Theme Icon
Racism, Poverty, and Alcoholism Theme Icon
Confessions, Revenge, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
However, when Roger, a big, athletic upperclassman, tells him a horribly racist joke, Junior decides he has to... (full context)
Identity, Belonging, and Coming-of-Age Theme Icon
To Junior’s surprise, Roger doesn’t fight back. Instead, Roger and his friends are shocked, and act as if Roger... (full context)
Identity, Belonging, and Coming-of-Age Theme Icon
Overlapping Opposites Theme Icon
Confessions, Revenge, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
When Junior demands to finish the fight after school, Roger calls him crazy and walks away—leaving Junior feeling much stronger, but also even more alienated... (full context)
Chapter 9 - Grandmother Gives Me Some Advice
Identity, Belonging, and Coming-of-Age Theme Icon
Confessions, Revenge, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Although Junior is terrified that Roger will come after him and kill him, his grandmother reassures him that Roger probably just... (full context)
Identity, Belonging, and Coming-of-Age Theme Icon
Racism, Poverty, and Alcoholism Theme Icon
Confessions, Revenge, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
At the front door, Junior runs into Roger and thinks he will have to fight. “My whole life is a fight,” he adds.... (full context)
Identity, Belonging, and Coming-of-Age Theme Icon
Overlapping Opposites Theme Icon
Junior’s relief and happiness at having earned Roger’s respect gives him the courage to greet Penelope when he sees her a moment later.... (full context)
Chapter 17 - Dance, Dance, Dance
Identity, Belonging, and Coming-of-Age Theme Icon
Racism, Poverty, and Alcoholism Theme Icon
But Junior again feels nervous when Roger invites them along with his friends to drive into Spokane for pancakes, which Penelope is... (full context)
Racism, Poverty, and Alcoholism Theme Icon
Confessions, Revenge, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
...for the pancakes that he goes to the bathroom, worried that he might throw up. Roger comes in and hears him retching, and asks if he’s all right. Junior says he’s... (full context)
Identity, Belonging, and Coming-of-Age Theme Icon
Overlapping Opposites Theme Icon
Racism, Poverty, and Alcoholism Theme Icon
Confessions, Revenge, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Amazed that Roger is being so nice—“he was POLITE! How many great football players are polite?”—Junior decides to... (full context)
Racism, Poverty, and Alcoholism Theme Icon
Confessions, Revenge, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
...meal, Junior claims that his dad will pick him up at the school, and so Roger drops him off there and waits in the car while Junior and Penelope get out... (full context)
Identity, Belonging, and Coming-of-Age Theme Icon
Overlapping Opposites Theme Icon
Racism, Poverty, and Alcoholism Theme Icon
Confessions, Revenge, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
...that his dad isn’t picking him up. Refusing to let Junior hitchhike home, Penelope tells Roger the truth. After that, says Junior, “Roger, being of kind heart and generous pocket, and... (full context)
Chapter 20 - Reindeer Games
Identity, Belonging, and Coming-of-Age Theme Icon
Hope, Dreams, and Loss Theme Icon
...the end of the drill—and then assigns random pairs for full-court one-on-one. Junior plays against Roger, who easily gets the ball away from him, and then runs him over when Junior... (full context)
Identity, Belonging, and Coming-of-Age Theme Icon
Hope, Dreams, and Loss Theme Icon
Though Junior is intimidated by Roger, he figures out how to keep him from stealing the ball, and scores with a... (full context)
Chapter 29 - Talking About Turtles
Identity, Belonging, and Coming-of-Age Theme Icon
Hope, Dreams, and Loss Theme Icon
...to come to the rez and stay with Junior for a week or two; and Roger, who has willed Junior his basketball uniform and told him he’s going to be a... (full context)