Touching Spirit Bear

Novel By Ben Mikaelsen

Aspects of Touching Spirit Bear

Symbolism and Motifs

The mothers and their children in nature was a motif. This motif symbolizes the kind of love and care Cole Matthews wants to receive from his parents. The ancestor rock is a symbol. The rock, when being carried, symbolizes the ancestors of the holder going through their lives, struggles and all. When the rock is put down, it is a new symbol. The rock now symbolizes anger. Rolling the anger rock down the slope helps lessen Cole's and Peter's anger. Circles are a motif in the novel. The motif symbolizes that nothing has a beginning or an end. For example, the circle of life: an organism is born, it becomes a child, then a teenager, next an adult, after adulthood, it's and elder, and lastly, it dies. Somewhere along the adulthood stage, the organism has children that go through the same cycle. The stick is another symbol. The left side symbolizes anger and gloominess. The right side symbolizes happiness and brightness.

Thematic Quote

"The sky, this stick, hot dogs, life, it's all the same. It's what you make of it. What you focus on becomes reality. Everybody carries anger inside. But also happiness. Those who focus on anger will always be angry. Those who focus on happiness will-"

This life lesson can mean many things. I say, life is what you make of it, it is your recipe! If you limit yourself to one ingredient, how how can you enjoy the whole dinner? If you focus on the whole, then it will taste like the final product.


Garvey is a static character throughout the whole story. He is a parole officer from Minneapolis. Garvey has a gravelly voice and is said to be a Tlingit Indian. He puts his trust in Cole Matthews very early on in the novel. His body was built like a bulldog with lazy eyes.

Edwin is a quiet, potbellied Tlingit elder. He has deep- set eyes that make it hard to tell what he is thinking. The elder is a very wise, smart man that acts fearless. Edwin is also a static character.

Peter Driscal is a dynamic character. At first, he is a shy boy who gets hurt by Cole. After almost physically recovering, Peter goes into a mental slump. He tries to commit suicide a few times and drastic measures are taken. Peter is sent to the island with Cole. After a few months on the island with Cole, Peter tries to beat Cole up like Cole did to Peter before the island. Peter suddenly realizes how Cole had felt before he changed.

Cole Matthews is also a dynamic character. He is a mean, awful, rude, mischievous boy ever. He hated everyone and everything that didn't fear him. After he beat up Peter, Cole was sent to the island. The Spirit Bear defied him, so Cole tried to kill it. The Spirit Bear almost killed him. When Cole was waiting for help, he realized that he was just a part of a giant circle. From then on, Cole was a different person. Cole now sees that he can't get rid of his anger, but he can control it. Also he found out that people can only heal if they help others heal.

I Am Poem

I Am Rosie

I am loving and kind

I wonder what the world would be like without nature

I hear birds chirping in the trees

I see the waves of the ocean

I want to grow in faith

I am Rosie

I pretend to do my responsibilities

I feel content

I touch the heart of others

I worry about death

I cry when I think about how far away my cousin is

I am Rosie

I understand you can't always be happy

I say Christ has saved me

I dream to grow up and live a wonderful

I try to please everyone

I hope I live forever

I am Rosie


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Brunson, Paul. How to Build or Rebuild Trust (14 STEPS). Digital image. Paul C. Brunson. 15 July 2013. Web.

C, Kristi. You Can Handle the Truth. Digital image. Enjoying the Journeys. 5 Nov. 2011. Web.

About the Author

Merritt Bush is a twelve- year old student at Aledo Middle School. Merritt has been a straight- A student since kindergarten. Miss Bush is currently in seventh grade, about to go into eighth. Her family moved to Aledo, Texas, in 2010 when she was eight. She lives with one brother, two dogs, and her parents.