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Writing Beside Literature: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Writing in response to literature is often about working to understand more deeply what a writer is doing in a text by imitating or standing next to part of the text and working out our own thinking about the ideas there.

In this sample I pasted into my notebook the divide that Alexie feels as he moves from his reservation high school to the all-white school nearby. I thought about the times when I have felt this divide myself—and asked this question:
Have you ever had a moment when you felt two parts of who you are or who you want to be or who others expect you to be at war inside of you? Where you feel split in two but also whole all at once?
In this notebook sample I struggled with teacher/human being—or how hard it is to follow ‘school rules’ when I would like to have more freedom.

My students worked out some of their own divides in their notebooks this day.

Notebook page White vs. Indian
Notebook page Teacher vs. Human Being
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