QUESTION: When Junior is in Reardan (the white town), he is "half indian", and when he is in Wellpinit (his reservation), he is "half white". "It was like being indian was my job," he says, "but it was only a part-time job. And it doesn't pay well at all." At Reardan High, why does Junior pretend he has more money than he does, even though he knows "lies have short shelf lives?"
When Junior starts talking about the kind of money he has, we can see that he isn't conftorable saying he's a lot poorer than the rest of the kids. It feels, different, when he talks about where he stands. Coming from a reservation, I realize people around him know he isn't rich, but isn't poor as well. They don't know the truth, and Junior knows that even if he lies, it isn't going to help him. "Lies have short shelf lives," because some people don't live as long as others, and sometimes the truth dies with them. Junior feels lost, and confused, when he is at Reardan, but finds a home with Gordy, Penelope and Roger. Somehow, they make life a little easier for him. One of the reasons that Junior lies is because he wants a fresh start.
Going to Reardan was a big transition for Junior, and in the beginning, he thinks that his life at Reardan will be short lived, so he lies in order to have the life he thinks he wants. A fresh start and a new beginning. Junior doesn't want to feel like an outcast, so he pretends to have more money than he actually does. In the end, Junior realizes that it doesn't matter whether he's rich or poor, as long as he has everything he needs, he is ok. After finally making up with Rowdy, Junior is happy. And to him, after realizing that having less money actually brought people closer to him, he now feels happy and safe. That's the only thing Junior was looking for in the end: happiness and love.