Touching Spirit Bear

By Ben Mikaelsen, written by Max Wegner

Characterization

Edwin and Garvey

Edwin and Garvey are the only ones who can help Cole, and can both appear to be the same people due to their relations with Cole, even though they are different. They give their time to help Cole, and they differ more than they seem, as for their reasons of helping and styles.

Edwin

Edwin is an elder of the Tlingit tribe and shows ways for Cole to deal with his anger, such as going to the pond and rolling the ancestor rock. He also gives life lessons to Cole like the stick analogy. He helps Cole with his anger because he had circle justice before and couldn't help the person he hurt.

Garvey

Garvey is a parole officer monitoring Cole in the story. Although he might not be helping like Edwin, he still manages to console Cole and gives ways to help him, such as the cake analogy in the beginning of the book. He also gives the At.oow to show trust in Cole, and it manages to survive the fire Cole threw it in, showing that he still trusted Cole, even slightly.

Peter

In the beginning Peter is hurt forever with permanent brain damage and psychological damage, by Cole. He is shown weak and is secluded most of the book until the end. The end shows that Peter is scared of Cole and refuses to go near him, fearing for his life. However, after some time they are left alone, and Peter starts to beat Cole saying "fight back," however, Cole won't, because he's learned his lesson. HE starts having a meltdwon, saying he's been scared the entire time.

Cole

Shown in the beginning, he seems to be a criminal of all kinds and should be removed from society. However, due to his near death experience after getting mauled by the spirit bear,he learns how valuable life is, even for birds. Even after being treated he goes back to the island with Edwin showing him the pond and ancestor stone. In the end, he is a different person, now he deals with his anger very well and isn't a danger anymore.

The symbolism of the pond, attack of spirit bear, and Cole at the island

Pond

The pond is a place for relaxation and mental help. It's a place we should all go, because it symbolizes relief and the removal of anger, like the numbness, showing there's something missing. Its the anger that's gone, and replaced with numbness, like nothingness.

Attack of the spirit bear

The attack of the Spirit Bear showed Cole the meaning of life. It showed him how valuable life was. Life wasn't meant to be thrown away like Cole had did so many times. This event symbolized a revelation within Cole, permanently changing him for the better.

Cole at the island

Cole at the island can symbolize a lot of events within the island and Cole. Mainly to me it symbolized Cole was unwanted by society because he didn't follow the rules nor adapt. He had to be banished to learn his lesson. This also symbolizes symbols in itself, like the pond for example.

Motifs

The animals

Each time Cole saw an animal, that night he would perform a dance in honor. But this dance was something more than just a ritual. It was to teach the importance of working together and using their abilities. It would help him when he returned for he learned because of other examples.

Abuse

This is a quiet subtle theme in the book, but it sure does address it. Abuse can be a reason for many things to happen, wanted or not. Abuse is a transfer of not being able to deal with things. This happened to Cole with his father, who abused him. The motif is that abuse won't help, ever. You must understand about it, not jump to conclusions.

Thematic Quote

"Make us a feast," Garvey said. "Not just food."

This thematic quote gives the life lesson of that the world is your oyster, meaning you make life the way you want and think about it. You can throw it all away like Cole in the beginning, ignore what you get, and live terribly, or you can live like it's your last day, and be glad for everything and everybody.

Poem

I Am Peter Driscal


I am suicidal and permanently damaged


I wonder what death is like


I hear gunshots


I see myself hanged


I want death


I am Peter Driscal


***


I pretend to be okay


I feel sadness


I touch blood


I worry if I'll be okay


I cry because of Cole


I am Peter Driscal


***


I understand death is permanent


I say it's the only way


I dream to be okay


I try to be okay


I hope to be okay


I am Peter Driscal

citations

"GLEY: COST-EFFECTIVE NATURAL POND SEALANT." Livings System Design. Livings System Design, n.d. Web. 28 Apr. 2015.


"Islands For Sale in 35, 34." Islands for Sale in Alaska, United States. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Apr. 2015.


"Save the Spirit Bear Coast!" Save BioGems. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Apr. 2015.