Touching Spirit Bear -Ben Mikaelsen

Evelyn Torres


Garvey is wise and wants to make sure Cole is safe and protected. He and his companion, Edwin, help Cole change while at the island and make his experience there easy.


Edwin, like Garvey, is wise, wants to help Cole change, and keep Cole safe. Although all of these things are crucial for him to change, he also tries to teach Cole the meaning of life: make what you can of it. He helps Cole leave his anger by making him bathe in the pond and roll down the rock.


Peter is a shy kid who changes drastically after Cole smashed his head into the sidewalk. Peter becomes suicidal and depressed the months that follow after, trying to take his life 2 times. Although he becomes closed to the world, he tries to seek revenge on Cole physically.


Cole is the most dynamic and main character in the story. At first, Cole is very short tempered, punching whatever comes in his sight. He fakes that he wants to change, using that as an excuse to get away from everyone. The first time he goes to the island is a wreck. He destroys his only food and shelter, but thankfully, he is given a second chance. The second time, his eyes are opened to discover the beauty of life and his anger is now almost gone, not doing anything when Peter punches him. Cole changes to forgive and apologize.


  • Hotdog - The hotdog Edwin shares with Cole and Garvey represent life because he teaches Cole that who can scarf down the hotdog whole with no meaning, or share it with people you care for and make the best of it.
  • Fire - The fire Cole set on the shelter is a representation of his anger because the fire is something strong and uncontrollable that needed to be let out.
  • Waves - The waves Cole comes across while trying to swim away from the island represents the barrier in life that forces Cole to face his own mentality, which is the islands.
  • Cake ingredients - Garvey shows Cole that the cake ingredients are like the ingredients for change: you can't get the product without one thing or another.
  • At.óow - Trust and second chances are represented through the at.óow because Edwin gives it to him because he trusts that he'll take care of it. When Cole throws it into the flames, it reappears unharmed, as a way of giving him another try.

Thematic quote

"A strange thought occurred to Cole: the world was beautiful. Yes, the world was beautiful...He wondered why he had never noticed this all before. How much beauty he has missed in his lifetime? How much beauty he has destroyed?" (Mikaelsen 114)
I am Cole Matthews

I am hot-tempered and predictable

I wonder if everyone just wants to get rid of me

I hear voices being shout at me

I want everyone to fear me

I am Cole Matthews


I pretend to want to change

I feel regret pulsing through me

I touch the spirit bear's fur

I worry if I'll die right now

I cry because the baby sparrows were killed

I am Cole Matthews


I understand what I did was wrong

I say that I have changed

I dream that all of this will be forgotten

I try to convince everyone that I have changed

I hope they see me as a new and better person

I am Cole Matthews