Kertzer Discussion Questions

  1. In the article, Kertzer poses three different ways of analyzing Alexie’s novel: through the critique of Elizabeth Cook-Lynn, through the novel’s intertextual references and similarities, and through the use of risky laughter. Of the three, which approach seems most beneficial in understanding¬†The Absolutely True Diary?
  2. Kertzer points out that both Rowdy and Gordy take issue with Junior’s attraction to Penelope. Kertzer seems to defend the relationship by stating that Junior knows it isn’t perfect and that both Junior and Penelople are aware of the fact that they are simply using eachother. Do you agree with Kertzer’s justification or is this relationship proof of Junior “colonizing and marginalizing” himself?
  3. Kertzer points out that when Junior compares reservations to death camps he is not joking for a change. Are there any other points in the narrative where Junior seems to take a more serious approach? What is the significance of these moments?
  4. In the final section of the essay, Kertzer points out that there are moments where the Junior’s humor lends itself to misrepresentation and misinterpretation. What are some of the moments that perhaps humor wasn’t necessary or seemed to be out of place? What does the use of humor say about Alexie’s imagined audience?

1 thought on “Kertzer Discussion Questions

  1. Carrie Hintz

    Christopher, nice engagement with the Kertzer, and I particularly like the questions about Penelope and about the role of seriousness….so much to work with here. CH


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