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Touching Spirit Bear Themes

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Jan Gauthier

on 21 November 2013

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Transcript of Touching Spirit Bear Themes

The Trees of Life and Justice
Created by: Pragya T., Jency S., Sydney T., and Sydney H.
We are all equals.
Through despair, comes hope
and personal growth.
How the Author Defines the Theme:
Visual Representations:
Connections to Make:
Connections to Make:
Visual Representations:
Visual Representations Continued:
How the Author Defines the Theme:
How the Author Defines the Theme:
Connections to Make:
Visual Representations:
We must control our anger.
Everyone in the world has anger that they are struggling to let go. Humans, like Cole, can never forget their anger and want to find happiness. In a rage, we let go of reason and feel as if we cannot forgive those who have wronged us. Adam Lanza, the shooter at Sandy Hook Elementary School, was motivated by hatred when murdering innocent schoolchildren. Cole was similarly motivated when he smashed Peter's head on a sidewalk.
Cole, at the beginning of the novel, could not control his anger and that negatively impacted his behavior. Lord Voldemort, the antagonist of the Harry Potter series, is shown as a child exhibiting the same behavior as Cole. The novel particularly referred to is "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" by J.K. Rowling.
There is constant racism and segregation in societies today, as well as the past. African Americans have been highly segregated in the United States, starting from the chains of slavery. Societies are coming to the realization that discrimination is horrid and that everyone is equal to another. Cole also came to the same conclusion in isolation, nature and him were equals,
"The Devil's Arithmetic" by Jane Yolen exhibits the discrimination faced by Jews in World War II. Nazis tortured the Jews based on falsehoods and propaganda. After the Germans' lost the war, an error was seen in their ways. Every person is equal to another and the world better recognizes that, like Cole. He came to realize that the world was shared by all creatures with equal right through the course of the novel.
The Circle of Life
Theme is defined as the lesson derived, or learned, from a story. In the novel, "Touching Spirit Bear", by Ben Mikaelsen, several themes are explored as Cole Matthews journeys through his own healing on a remote Alaskan Island.
Anger is being wrongfully expressed.
Happiness has been found.
Respect and dignity are what the Spirit Bear and the eagle represent.
This bear is an endangered animal and the men above have chosen to kill it. This will ultimately harm them because their entire ecosystem will collapse. The bears hunts fish, fish will overpopulate without the bear eating, and the water levels will be reduced causing a local water shortage.
In life there is both anger and happiness, and although anger can never be forgotten, we cannot allow ourselves to be consumed by it.
We, as human beings, must look for happiness in our lives.
"The right end of the stick is your happiness, the left end is your anger . . . People spend lifetimes breaking their stick to get rid of anger. But always anger remains, and they think they've failed."
- Edwin, page 144 of "Touching Spirit Bear"
Everyone in this universe ought to be treated with respect and dignity. Everything in this world is connected like a circle and harm inflicted on another, is harm inflicted on yourself.
“Whatever you do to the animals, you do to yourself. Remember that.”
- Edwin, page 19 of "Touching Spirit Bear"
Cole regarded the Spirit Bear with anger when he was first brought onto the island. He did not believe the bear to be his equal and that harmed his healing process. He was severely mauled by the Spirit Bear as a consequence of his behavior.
When pain, or sorrow, is experienced personally, only then does it have deeper meaning. With the new understanding gained, being sympathetic to other's plight is also gained.
“The dances, carving the totem, carrying the ancestor rock, touching the Spirit Bear, it was all the same thing—it was finding out who I really was.”
- Cole, page 283 of "Touching Spirit Bear"
Throughout the novel Cole is on a journey of self-discovery and healing. Him carrying the ancestor rock, soaking in the pond, dancing to his emotions alongside those of an animal's, and carving a totem pole make Cole a changed person.
The experience on the remote Alaskan island in isolation made Cole a greater person. He came 'full circle'.
This man is shown progressing through his career.
The woman above is receiving quality counseling to resolve her issue and conflicts. She is growing emotionally despite barriers.
"My aunt suffered through breast cancer recently and that took a toll on her. However, the disease made her a stronger person and she continuously had hope that she would live. Peter's condition impacts Cole, like my aunt's condition impacted myself and my family. Peter had hope of surviving after he endured the battle of forgiving Cole for his crimes."
- Jency Shaji
In the novel, "The Devil's Arithmetic" by Jane Yolen, Chaya and Rivka faced the despairs of a concentration camp. The two always thought that eventually they would be free and had hope all would be well. Chaya grew to realize the importance of her Jewish culture. Cole similarly follows Tlingit Indian treatments, which are harsh, but effective. He grows as Chaya does to appreciate life and its beauty.
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