Touching Spirit Bear

By: Ben Mikaelsen

By:Ben Oaks


Garvey was very compassionate towards Cole and Peter throughout the book, and Garvey was also a very helpful person as he helps Cole in his time of desperation. Most of all Garvey was understanding with Peter and Cole.

Edwin was one of the most helpful people I've heard of, and also Edwin was a great teacher with Cole about life and that there is more meaning to life. Edwin was also very smart, caring, and kind, but most of all Edwin was a great mentor to Cole.

Cole's character changes throughout the book. In the beginning Cole was very hostile and cruel. While towards the end Cole wants to help Peter instead of beating him, and also at the end Cole becomes more helpful, kind, careful, respectful, and most of all more caring towards others.

Peter's character throughout the book changes, in the beginning he seem like an honest and caring guy. While throughout the middle Peter becomes more confused and less caring and a little suicidal because of his beating, and then at the end of the book Peter is even more confused and becomes slightly insane.


  • Garvey uses a hot dog as a symbol when talking with Cole, and the hot dog can be good or bad by adding your toppings, but life is hard and only you can make it easy by making good decisions (toppings).
  • Edwin talks to Cole about the pool of anger and in this pool Cole and Edwin can metaphorically wash away their anger and start fresh for the new day. The pool represents the happiness that can wash away anger.
  • Edwin teaches Cole by carrying a rock up a hill showing that they are carrying their ancestors knowledge and what they learned from their mistakes. He also says that the path is created by you and you can only change the path by good decisions and bad ones.
  • Garvey talks to Cole about anger with a stick and that when you break off the left side the left side is still there. Garvey uses this example to tell Cole you can't get rid of anger because it is always there, and anger is like a smoldering fire its cool until its flared up then its hot. The left side of the stick is anger that is never forgotten.
  • The circle motif appeared throughout the book. I think the circle symbolizes that life is connected and moves in harmony. It also is an allusion to the Bible because God made humans from dirt and when we die we are buried in the ground thus completing the circle of life.

"A whale migrates but it doesn't have a home...I feel like the Whale." -Cole to Garvey and Edwin, p. 182

Cole tells Garvey of his insight while they are doing the interpretive dance of the animal they saw that day. As Cole was mimicking the breaching of the humpback whale, he thought of this insight. This quote symbolizes the connection between nature's lessons and personal growth that occurs throughout the novel.

"I am"

I am Cole

I am helpful and smart

I wonder what other people's lives are like

I hear kids screaming in frustration

I want to make a difference in the world

I am Cole

I pretend to be cool

I feel joyful

I touch my dog

I worry about life

I cry that one day I'm going to die

I am Cole

I understand that life is hard

I say you must work for what you want

I dream one day I will have a good job

I try to be kind

I hope to make my parents proud

I am Cole