Obstacles In Richard Wagamese's Indian Horse

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People encounter many obstacles in their lifetimes, obstacles that are too arduous to overcome by themselves. They must find a way to get through these difficulties, and there is always something, or someone, that helps keep them sane through these hard hours. To Saul Indian Horse, the main character of Richard Wagamese’s novel Indian Horse, that obstacle is St. Jerome’s Residential School and the very element that kept him sane was hockey. In the residential school, Saul is abused both mentally and physically, witnessing the continued deaths of his Indian classmates. Fortunately, Saul was able to keep himself sane through hockey. Using hockey as an outlet, Saul escapes the horrendous influence of the school and copes with the many atrocities he faces and ultimately reclaims his true self.

For Saul, hockey became a means in which he can escape the abuse from St. Jerome’s. For example, when Father Leboutillier learned of Saul’s interest and skill in the game, the both of them became closer, in which Saul describes Father Leboutillier as a father figure. Saul quotes, “Father Leboutillier was my ally. When the nuns
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He quotes that his life was “replaced by an ominous black cloud”(47) Eventually, Saul could not take the racial discrimination any longer, and became immersed in booze and alcohol. Saul recalls, “I spoke less and drank more, and I became the Indian again; drunken and drooling and reeling.” (181) Saul gave up, and decided he would become the image of the ‘Indian’ that all the white people saw him as. But then, he met a man named Ervin Sift, who reminded him of his “Proud People”(183) From there, Sauls redemption of his cultural identity began. First, he traveled to New Dawn Centre, where he was drilled about his alcohol abuse, and Saul states that “for some strange reason I listened”(190) Saul moved back to the Manitouwadge, and spoke with the Kelly’s of the abuse he suffered at St.
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