- HOOK Line
For the hook, we shall use a rhetorical question. This will have the effect of having the reader analyze the situation from my perspective. Furthermore, it will enable me to influence the reader’s state of mind, pushing them to look for the answers to the rhetorical question. Consequently, as the paper progresses and answers are provided, the reader can find satisfaction in their curiosity being quenched, and the summary as well as the themes of the book supplement this.
- Selected Topic
The topic selected is reeducation. The topic is selected, as it is apt for the book, as well as present times. Through this topic, we can analyze the conflict people who are deemed to be different go through when their practices are not accepted in the community in which they reside. Furthermore, we can look through the different strategies employed to reeducate, as well as their effect on the people they are practiced. Finally, this topic provides us with ample room to interrogate the effect such practices have on the people on whom they are inflicted.
- Thesis presented
Reeducation is not about changing someone’s mind, but rather gradually helping them change their minds. The thesis is inked on the premise that continuous development is necessary for all of us. However, it cannot be left to the teacher to determine what the student ought to change by all methods rather, the teacher has to illustrate the benefits of changing one’s ways, and thus be an example of the benefits change will bring about in the life of the people they seek to reeducate.
- Support Ideas
Trauma and abuse
Staying the Course
Must we stay on the path that will lead us to our destiny? Or should we deviate from the course every once in a while to ensure our past is taken care of? Proverbs are wisdom from the old, and one asserts that stopping to chase after hares will ensure the safe escape of the antelope a hunter seeks. This is the situation our protagonist found himself in Richard Magawese’s Indian Horse. The author talks of a boy by the name of Saul Indian Horse who was unlucky to live in a time when his community and culture were being erased by the white men who settled on their land. The author goes on to tell us of the many atrocities committed by the settlers in their quest to re-educate the native population. By the end of the book, Saul has a lot of healing to undergo and is lucky to have a friend with whom he can share this journey. This paper shall thus explore the journey Saul undertakes in the book, detailing the hardships he went through as he attempted to say the course.
A tree without roots will soon die. This was the first challenge the protagonist had to face as he attempted to make a man of himself. He was a seer and had a deep connection with nature that thus ensured his power could thrive. However, he lived in a time when this power was deemed to be evil and unholy. His mother, having been re-educated held deep reservations about their culture that she quarrels with her mother during their burial rites (Chapter 8). Consequently, the influence she has on Saul is to veer him from the path of his culture to the modern Christian way of thought. Saul noticed that his visions became less frequent, a sign that he was losing his ability to see and commune with his ancestors.
One cannot always escape the cruelty of the world, and Saul was o different. He was kidnapped and sent to a school to learn the Christian faith. This action separated him from his people and his path to becoming a seer for them. Not only could he not practice his faith and culture, but he was also punished for it and made to feel inferior for who he was. Psychologically, this made him question his existence. Not only this but mental abuse was coupled with physical abuse to the point of some of his colleagues committing suicide (Chapter 12). Such traumatic experiences not only damage a person but changes their perspective on life. The teachers would sneak into the student’s rooms at night and have their way with them (Chapter 16).
The journey to make something out of oneself cannot stop and Saul manages to use his hockey skills to leave the school and start playing for a club. He seems to do well and is a star for his team. However, the ugly hand of racism and discrimination bears itself lending insults to him that severely compromise his ability to succeed in his chosen sport. He swims against the tide, being an unwanted person in a team but playing because he wins them matches (Chapter 30). He is also prone to abuse from commentators but still pushes on to try and become the best he can be. The journey to becoming a great sportsman comes to an end when he is involved in several fights to defend his name and his honor. Although he is the victim, he is punished for lashing out at his aggressors.
The journey to make something out of oneself cannot stop, and Saul is no different. In his recollection, he acknowledges that he has been wronged by many people, but cannot fight back. This decision does not come from the fact that they do not deserve it, but rather because they will take too much of his valuable time. “Taking revenge on those who have wronged him would be an exercise that does not end”, (Ch. 52, pg. 265). Saul chooses to look forward, and move on to build a life for himself.
Saul chose to focus on the antelope of making a life for himself rather than on the numerous hares that appeared. Despite being uprooted from his culture, suffering emotional and physical abuse as well as outright discrimination, he never lost sight of what he wanted. Indeed, we must always stay on the path that leads us to our destiny.
Wagamese, Richard. Indian Horse: A Novel. Milweed Editions, 2018.
The successful escape and attempt to start a new life by Saul is the climax of the novel. By this point, Saul is cognizant of all the repressed emotions and memories that have led him to be the person he is. Additionally, as he tells his friend Virgil, he cannot go about a revenge mission, as it would never end, and he still has a life to live. This realization comes forth after years of abuse, racial discrimination, and an attempt to rid him of his culture. He strays from his power as a seer and seeks to reclaim it by starting from where he is, the present.
- Main theme
The main theme in the book is racism. The author illustrates this by the continuous destruction of the indigenous culture and undermining of their traditions. Native people are treated as second-class citizens because of their beliefs, and appearance. Furthermore, there is an attempt to erase their belief system, through the re-education camps. This is also relevant today, as re-education camps still exist, and people are judged by factors other than their skills. Racial discrimination remains a concern in our society. The theme is relevant to me as it is indicative that we still have some way to go, even as discrimination continues albeit in more subtle ways.
The novel teaches the harm that comes about with a superiority complex. When people think they are better than others, they demean them, which is the first step in discriminating against them. Additionally, a lot of information is lost when we ignore what others bring to the table. In the eradication of the native culture, entire practices are wiped out that could have otherwise helped us develop a better relationship with nature. Finally, new things must be treated with the respect they deserve. Mutual respect can lead to respectful relationships, and mutual learning where the best of two worlds can come together to find solutions that are better, more encompassing, and largely more beneficial to those who choose this path.
The general mood of the book is a somber one, a sad one. The author can bring this about by illustrating several instances where humanity is not present, and people are hurt at the hands of selfish ambition. Furthermore, the only victory of the protagonist is that he can start healing, whereas the tormentors go away scot-free. An instance of this is when Saul is kidnapped by the white men, and they leave his sickly grandmother to die, not caring about her ailing health. In another instance, the narrator reveals how the one source of his happiness as depicted in the story was an abuser and one who preyed on his innocence to continuously rape him.
- Two people. There is a conflict between Mary and Naomi, a mother and daughter on the rites to be followed when burying Mary’s son. Mary is a Christian and wants him buried according to Christian custom. Her mother however practices her indigenous Indian tradition and views Mary’s suggestion as alien to their people and unacceptable.
- A Person and their conscience. Virgil experiences such turmoil when he reunites with his friend and confidant Saul. On one hand, he is disturbed by the fact that Saul left the town and hockey which was something they both enjoyed. On the other hand, he understands the reasons for his friend leaving, and this troubles him as to how he should receive his long-lost fired.
- A person and society. Saul is in constant conflict with society when he plays hockey. Although he is a star and helps his team, the journalists, opponents, and even his teammates constantly abuse him because of his culture. He is a victim of constant racial slurs, leading to many fights breaking out to the point of him being kicked off the team.
- A person and nature. Saul experiences conflict with the brutal architecture of the school where he is taken. It is in sharp contrast to the lush forests, rivers, and open fields to which he is accustomed. The school however is devoid of natural elements, and this even leads him to lose his connection to his “seeing” powers.
- A person and a spiritual being. The missionaries are in constant conflict with indigenous people and their ways. The conflict is so much that they brand it as demonic, backward, and uncouth. This conflict is the source of the construction of schools where they remove the “backward thinking” of the native people.
- Other factors causing conflict
The destruction of nature is another source of conflict that affects individual values. This destruction leads to a disconnection between the native people and their culture. Additionally, it disorients them, makes them rudderless, and leads them to drink so that they may rid themselves of the confusion. This is necessary to respond to as it is prevalent to this date. The destruction of nature has led to increased temperatures, and we too cannot count on living as we did. Changing weather patterns and increased temperatures make life on earth much harder, and more unstable and even results in alleviation of the progress made in improving the human life index.
- Main Character
The main character is Saul Indian Horse, who is also the narrator of the story. He is a young Indian boy living in a time when his people are being “re-educated” by missionaries. He deals with pain in several ways, most of them detrimental to his person. He drinks a lot, ruining some relationships. He also blocks some of his pain, only remembering it when he engages in deep introspection. This is also one of the positive ways he deals with his pain, through talking to his friend Virgil. On a personal note, talking about my problems always seems to make them less difficult than I had thought, and is helpful in the process of finding solutions.
- Changing Character
One of the characters who change is Mary Indian Horse, Saul’s mother. She is a victim of the education program brought by the missionaries, which converts her to Christianity. Her change serves the purpose of illustrating the conflict experienced by converted folk who go back to their homes. She quarrels with people over beliefs and even blames her mother for her son’s death owing to her traditional beliefs.
- Opinion on Character’s reaction
Saul’s parents lose one of their children, Benjamin. Owing to this, they turn to drink to quench their thirst for healing. This action harms the family, as they slowly slip from their traditional practices, and end up losing their family owing to their drinking, and search for jobs to finance their habit. They also abscond from their parental duties, eventually leaving the role of raising Saul to his grandmother.