Archetypal Journey In Indian Horse By Richard Wagamese

1508 Words7 Pages

Many of the tales enjoyed by society depict a hero embarking on a journey. Whether the story is a heroic adventure or a sappy romance, these stories all follow a similar pattern in terms of structure. By following the writing outline of an archetypal quest for identity, the novel “Indian Horse”, by Richard Wagamese, depicts Saul finding out who he is and where he belongs through emotional and spiritual journeys. This archetypal journey includes three main and important phases for the hero: the ‘departure and initiation’, the ‘road of trials and innermost cave’, and the ‘return’. Saul’s tale in the novel “Indian Horse” is a particularly heart-wrenching yet eye-opening archetypal quest for identity which incorporates all three important phases …show more content…

After a series of battles, the hero is faced with his greatest trial and will often feel like he will never feel peace or enjoyment again. Saul’s endurance and strength were pushed so far to the limit in the residential school and in hockey, that when he found he lost them both, he used his resourcefulness to find alcohol. First, Saul grows up learning how to handle the physical, emotional, and sexual abuse of the school by keeping himself quiet and hidden. He caught on quickly that “the only test was [their] ability to endure” (79), and by following the rules, he could stay out of trouble. Unfortunately, this plan didn’t work entirely in his favour. He was still traumatized by witnessing beatings, death, illness, and rape. As the children around him suffered physically, Saul suffered emotionally. In addition, Father Leboutilier brutally raped Saul on a regular basis. Although Saul blocked these memories out, it was still baggage that he carried alongside himself everyday. He was tricked into believing that Father Leboutilier was there for him, and that he was on his side. Instead, he was being manipulated and used. Second, hockey was his shield from the school, and something he was very passionate about. As he played, “the excitement in the air was so thick you could smell it” (57), and he felt like the troubles of the school melted away. His skills improved, and he moved teams several times to test his abilities. It was hockey that got Saul out of the school early, but as each team was a bit more competitive than the last, he had to work harder to prove he was still strong enough. The games turned into battlegrounds where he had to avoid and endure attacks and name calling from the players and the audience. Once he finally resulted in fighting back, he lost the connection between hockey and his culture because “there was no joy in the game… no

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