Touching Spirit Bear

By Ben Mikaelsen


Garvey has been with Cole throughout his whole journey. Garvey is the one who introduced the idea of circle justice to Cole in the first place. Garvey was once a troubled kid, like Cole. He believes that helping Cole will help clear up his past. Garvey also truly supports Cole throughout the whole book.


Edwin, like Garvey, had a troubled past and went through what Cole is going through now. He is a part of the Tlingit's, and know the area, on which Cole will stay, fairly well.


Peter was beaten senseless by Cole, and suffered greatly physically, as well as mentally. After the attack, Peter hates Cole's guts even more than before. Near the end, even though he understands that Cole has changed, he is still on edge.


In the beginning of the book, most readers will despise Cole, and think he is awful. Cole will first strike you as mean and spiteful. As the book progresses, however, you dive deeper into Cole's past, and start to understand why he does, what he does. You may even start to feel bad for him. In the end,Cole is a changed man, and he definitely changed for the better.

1.Symbol; The Spirit Bear

The spirit bear symbolizes peace and serenity that Cole needs. It also represents the "real'' world, in the sense it doesn't pay attention to Cole like people in the "real" world won't be revolving around him like he wants them to.

2.Motif; Anger

The thought of anger appears in Touching Spirit Bear, to symbolize that you can never fully get rid of your anger. Cole's life used to run on how angry at the world he is, but now he has realized that you can look the other way and not give in to your anger, like he used to.

3.Symbol; The Ancestor Rock

The ancestor rock symbolizes the generations of troubled people like Cole that have gone through what Cole is going through. Though the ancestor rock may not symbolize Cole's real ancestors, it instead symbolizes, like i said, the generations of troubled people such as Cole.

4.Symbol; The Soaking River

The flow of the water in the soaking river symbolizes moving on, and washing yourself clean from yesterday so you have a new start, and a new chance today. The river will always flow, just like time will never stop changing. The river helps Cole understand that every day is a new day.

5.Motif; Circle

The circle appears quite often in Touching Spirit Bear, the circle symbolizes that life will keep going, even if you are sure that time is going to suddenly stop because of a episode, life keeps going. The circle also symbolizes what goes around, comes around, so if you make really bad decisions (like Cole) then you will probably end up in jail.

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 had he missed in his lifetime? How much beauty had he destroyed?” p 114

In this thematic quote from the book, Touching Spirit Bear by Ben Mikaelsen, Cole is thinking that there is a lot of beauty in the world, if you just stop for a second and allow yourself to look around. Ironically, at the point in the book when this realization occurs, and Cole sees that there is beauty all around him, he is badly hurt and cannot get up to take in all the beauty he has just discovered. In this particular quote, Mikaelsen shows that Cole has truly discovered a world that was previously unknown to him.

I Am...

I am Peter Driscal

I am depressed and hurt

I wonder if Cole will ever just leave me alone

I hear the sounds of bones breaking replaying in my head

I see a gathering pool of sticky, red blood out of the corner of my weary eyes

I want to exist no more

I am Peter Driscal

* * *

I pretend that everything is fine

I feel undesired from the world

I touch the thought of death often, in my ever-scarred mind

I worry about sleeping on the same ground as Cole Mathews

I cry at the thought of how i used to be: Happy

I am Peter Driscal

* * *

I understand Cole is attempting to change

I say things to Cole to try and act tougher than i feel

I dream of what i would be like if i hadn't snitched

I try to understand soaking and the ancestor rock

I hope i will get better

I am Peter Driscal

Flyer By: Ally Mason, period 6