Touching Spirit Bear Essay Cole Mathews

685 Words3 Pages
When Cole is banished to the island, he is filled with a whirlpool of swirling rage. In the novel, Touching Spirit Bear, by Ben Mikaelsen, Cole Mathews is a misled young man, who has a knack for getting himself into trouble. Raised by his abusive father and alcoholic mother, Cole’s personality is built upon a foundation of anger and pain. All of these unaddressed emotions cause Cole to commit crimes and bully other kids. With nobody to tell him otherwise, Cole convinces himself that neither of his parents want him. Cole is always angry and irritated as a result of his bottled up emotions, but after he is sent to the island, he learns to release his anger by preforming physical disciplines. The first physical discipline Cole preforms while inhabiting the island is dancing out his feelings. When Edwin and Garvey introduce Cole to this new way of releasing his anger, Cole is skeptical (pg.167). In Cole’s eyes, dancing and prancing around a fire is stupid and embarrassing, but gradually, his attitude towards this exercise changes. In the morning they saw whales, so at dinner Edwin insists that they do a whale dance. Edwin and Garvey, in turn, danced around the fire imitating some of the motions and habits of whales. Cole reluctantly agrees and while dancing notices how whales migrate but do not have a home (pgs.181-182). Cole understands how the whales feel because his current situation is very similar to theirs. He learns that dancing out his emotions help him appreciate the smaller things in life, and realize aspects about himself that he would not have otherwise known. The next Physical discipline Cole preforms on the island is soaking in the freezing pond and breaking the stick that represents anger and happiness. When Edwin awakens Cole at the crack of dawn, he takes him upstream to a small pond. As Edwin enters the pond bare-bodied, Cole convinces himself to
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