Analysis Of Indian Horse By Richard Wagamese

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In the novel Indian Horse, written by Richard Wagamese, the main character Saul Indian Horse endured many hardships as a child leaving a permanent impact on who he became as an adult. The trauma he faced as a child shaped him from a happy young boy to an aggressive, dissociative alcoholic. Every aspect of his adverse childhood contributed to making him into the man he became, but the countless deaths Saul witnessed, the time he spent at St. Jerome's having his identity stripped from him, becoming a victim of abuse, and the endless racism he endured played momentous roles in his adult development. At a young age, Saul witnessed many deaths of both his peers and his family members. First it was his brother, then his grandmother, next many of …show more content…

Jerome's residential school had considerably the most significant impact on who he became as an adult. Beyond having his identity stripped away, he also became a victim of sexual assault within the walls of the school by an authority figure he had a close bond with. As soon as Saul arrived at the school, the school began to try to change him: "Then a pair of nuns scrubbed us with stiff-bristled brushes. The soap was harsh. They rubbed us nearly raw. It felt like they were trying to remove more than grime or odour. It felt like they were trying to remove our skin." (p.44) The school tried to physically change Saul's appearance by cutting his hair and making him wear certain clothes but on top of that the school tried to change who he is inside, completely stripping him of his culture. "She (Sister Ignacia) smiled again with the same ghastly lack of feeling. "At St. Jerome's we work to remove the Indian from our children so that the blessings of the Lord may be evidenced upon them."" (p.46) Like many other Indigenous children, the cultural genocide that Saul was a part of made him confused of who he was. This build up to an identity crisis likely was one of the reasons Saul became violent and began to …show more content…

Jerome's, Saul was also sexually abused by Father Leboutilier. ""You are a glory, Saul." That’s what he always told me. It's what he whispered to me in the dim light of his quarters, what he said to me those nights he snuck into the dormitory and put his head beneath the covers. The words he used in the back of the barn when he slipped my trousers down. That was the phrase that began the groping, the tugging, the pulling and the sucking, and those were always the last words he said to me as he left, arranging his priestly clothes. "You are a glory, Saul" Those were the words he used instead of love, and he'd given me the job of cleaning the ice to buy my silence, to guard his secret." (p.199) Saul had repressed this traumatic experience for many years, like many other victims of sexual abuse. Repressing this memory meant him not having to acknowledge it ever happening. If he can’t remember it, it can’t hurt him as much. Sexual abuse is often a crippling burden for its victims, which is why Saul chose to avoid the memory all

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