Touching Spirit Bear

by:MICHAEL POLKA book by: Ben Mikaelsen

5 motifs

There are many motifs but the ones i want to show are ciclejustice the power of nature, circle of life, life itself, and forgiveness. they are all special because they together symbolize humanity.


Cole Matthews is a fifteen-year-old in the story with many behavior issues and abusive parents. He later learns how to control his anger, how to apologize, and to forgive.Peter is A ninth grader who Cole has bullied and brutally attacked. He develops permanent brain damage along with the physical issues he received from the beating he took from Cole. Aside from this, Peter eventually forgives him after Cole changes his attitude and the two become friends.Garvey shows Cole to the Circle Justice and helps Cole in every way he can. He and Edwin are the only people who help Cole succeed in what he is doing. Garvey gives Cole a blanket called an a'toow in the beginning, showing his trust in Cole.Edwin is a tilinket elder who wants Cole to improve. Edwin shows Cole to a freezing pond on an island, the ancestor rock, and lets Cole take care of his violent anger. He was very wise and knew how to heal Cole because he went to the Alaskan Island himself as a youth. He taught Cole the things that helped him.


"whatever you do to animals you do to yourself"

Edwin says this to Cole in order for him to appreciate the importance of nature in general but also to understand its importance for his own healing. When Cole showed anger towards the Spirit Bear or towards any other animal, it always impeded his own healing. Further, if Cole could not be peaceful towards simple, humble animals, he certainly would not be ready to cease to be angry at humans, with their increased complexity. Thus, anger towards more vulnerable creatures would cause him to harm himself and slow down his own healing. Cole's life, especially on the island, was intertwined with the natural world.

I am Cole Mathews

I am strong and smart

I am curios about how anger came to be

I hear wind

I see my fate

I want to be good

I am Cole Mathews

I pretend to do the wolf dance

I worry about my self

I cry about cats

I am Cole Mathews

I understand life

I say good prevails

I dream big

I try to hold in anger

I hope to do good

I am Cole Mathews