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Theme Statement: In PTI an important message is that self-esteem can be determined through the influence and actions of others.
"I am a zero on the rez. And if you subtract zero from zero you still have zero. So what's the point of subtracting when the answer is always the same."
"I felt like someone had shoved me into a rocket ship and blasted me to a new planet. I was a freaky alien and there was absolutely no way to get home."
"We were dancing around the gym, laughing and screaming and chanting. My teammates mobbed me. They lifted me up on their shoulders and carried me around the gym."
Arnold's life on the rez became very tough for him and he felt like a nobody. He didn't have much confidence because of the way he was treated by all of his peers. He was bullied because of his looks and his personality and being poor didn't help either. His only friend was Rowdy and he was loyal to Arnold and treated him like a human because he cared so much about him.
When Arnold transferred to Reardan, he was treated the exact same way as on the rez, but now he was thought of as a traitor by everyone on the rez . He felt like an outsider around all the white people who bullied him and called him names. He didn't have much hope or confidence in himself and didn't have any friends like Rowdy to support him. Although Arnold was having an extremely tough time at Reardan, these moments made him stronger and taught him lessons.
After Arnold had a lack of confidence, he finally gained it back because of Roger's kindness when he believed in Arnold's basketball skills. When Arnold joined the basketball team his teammates and especially his coach encouraged him and gave him the confidence he needed. He feels accepted on the basketball team and feels like one of them. When they won their basketball game he felt wanted and needed on the team which helped boost his self-esteem. He finally feels human around all the people at Reardan and feels like he can be himself.
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