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Nature symbolism in Three Day Road
Transcript of Nature symbolism in Three Day Road
The connection of natural symbols to the main characters of Three Day Road enhances the natural aspect of the book.
Elijah is Xaviers best friend. He grew up as an orphan in the same residential school Xavier was in and so Xavier and Niska return to save Elijah. He is able to speak english and during the war gets along with the white people around him. But he also dehumanizes the enemy and begins killing for sport.
Xavier is Niska's nephew. He briefly grew up in the residential school before escaping with Niska and is good friends with Elijah. Growing up in the woods he formed a deep connection with nature and becomes a great hunter like his aunt. He doesn't enjoy killing like Elijah however and eventually is forced to kill Elijah.
Niska is the second last of a family of great windigo killers. As a child she sees her family destroyed by colonists, however she does not give in to the residential schools, instead she escapes and takes her nephew Xavier with him. She is very connected to nature, mainly living alone in the forest. She only finds love once with a french man.
The Lynx is a solitary animal that lives in Northern Canada.
It has thick hair and broad paws to support itself on the snow.
The Lynx eats many animals but mainly hunts rabbits.
It is good at climbing trees and swimming.
The Linx only mates once a year.
Baby Leaving Nest
"I stare up at the ceiling. The swallow chatters louder. Elijah takes the broom and sweeps the nest hard, knocking it to the floor. The baby swallows tumble out. Two are lifeless, killed instantly by the fall. The third raises his featherless head, bewildered, its eyes large and round above its small yellow beak. Its tiny wings beat frantically on the floor, then more slowly. The mother bird cries out. The baby swallow's lids sink and it ceases to move. I turn my head away from all of them."(258)
Horses on Boat
During World War I many horses were brought over sees to Europe to fight in the cavalry.
The horses having never been on ships before were scared and hurt often.
The horses proved to be of little use in the mud and trenches of Europe.
To the Anishinaabe, the Lynx is called Mishebeshu. Mishebeshu is considered to be a powerful but dangerous water monster. The animal is held in high regard and many clans have been named after it. It is considered very spiritual.
Niska is very solitary, spending a large portion of her life alone in the woods
She is considered dangerous and powerful
She is very spiritual and experiences visions
The whisky Jack, or Grey Jay, is a black and white bird the mainly lives in the Boreal forest.
They are known to take food from humans.
The Whiskey Jack, comes from the name Wisakedjak. The bird is considered to be a trickster in many Native tales, because of its colors: half white, half black. It is often a humorous character. It is often related to the chinese symbol of ying and yang.
Elijah changes how he talks and can out talk people
He plays tricks on people
He has a good and evil side
He is named after the Whiskey jack
The Red Fox is a common animal, found everywhere in the Northern Hemishpere.
The fox is commonly hunted and is a great source of fur.
The fox is commonly portrayed in Native mythology as cunning and a trickster.
"What my mother could not teach me was something that I already had. The
vision to see little parts of the near and far future
"...Elijah learned to talk his way out of anything,gave great long speeches so that his words snakes themselves like vines.."(59)
Lynx as a Guiding Spirit
"'It's the same lynx' I say. 'Impossible,' Elijah answers..."(60)
"Elijah can out-talk even the officer's with his nun's english and quick thinking "(65)
Elijah's taken to talking in an English accent in the last days.... It's like he wants to become
something he's not
"I fought like a
then, scratching at his eye with my fingernails, biting him through his thick coat so that he screamed in shock and pain" (92)
"My mother and I walked out of there and back into the time of our ancestors, living on what land would give and slowly
becoming wild like the animals
"Elijah goes into another place when he is hunting. He forgets his british accent and his bragging, is patient." (113)
My Hair grew longer and tangled and wild"(131)
should fly better,' he says. Elijah looks at him 'How do you know name?' " I don't I was dreaming of a flock of
.' He looks confused. 'They were pecking at some thing dead'"(163)
"It was the lynx that came to me most strongly, his growl puffing out the walls of my tent like a great wind trying to escape. And I asked the lynx a favour that would change me forever" (176)
"I feel comfort with animals. They make me feel closer to land"(183)
"I look up, sitting cross-legged with one of the horses sprawled beside me, its head on my lap"(189)
For most people babies leaving the nest is a symbol of freedom and moving on. However in some cases like in Three Day Road it can be a very negative image.
Xavier has a deep connection with nature
He understands the suffering of animals
The situations with animals mirror his experience
Boyden, Joseph. Three Day Road. Toronto: Penguin Canada, 2008. Print.
Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. Web. 31 May 2015. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_fox#In_folklore_and_mythology>.
"An Aboriginal Presence." Civilization.ca. Web. 31 May 2015. <http://www.historymuseum.ca/cmc/exhibitions/aborig/fp/fpz2f31e.shtml>.
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"Lynx." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. Web. 31 May 2015. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lynx>.
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"Native American Lynx Mythology." Native American Indian Lynx Legends, Meaning and Symbolism from the Myths of Many Tribes. Web. 31 May 2015. <http://www.native-languages.org/legends-lynx.htm>.
"The Topic of Animals Found in Both Three Day Road and the Stone Carvers." - ENG4U Literature Circles. Web. 31 May 2015. <http://pining.ning.com/profiles/blogs/the-topic-of-animals-found-in-both-three-day-road-and-the-stone?xg_source=activity>.
"Three Day Road." Three Day Road. Web. 31 May 2015. <http://threedayroad.tumblr.com/>.
Joseph Boyden incorporates the native Canadian element of story telling into Three Day Road by having reoccurring spiritual symbols and animals and humans paralleling experiences. Like the Anishinaabe legends.