Yosef EngedaMr. LeeNBE 3U101-20-2018 Friendship, love and connections in “Through black spruce”The major theme in the novel “Through Black Spruce” by Joseph Boyden is family, love and relationships. There are numerous accounts of protection that is in and outside of the reserve which go hand in hand with the theme of family and relationships. All of the characters in this novel are either getting protection or protecting one another. That is the internal picture that Boyden is painting.
The external depiction is about the Native community at large. For example Will does everything he can to keep the bear safe. Gordon protecting Annie in Toronto, Annie’s pursuit for her sister Suzanne and even Will’s dream about saving the children from the residential schools in his dream. Through some of these friendships Boyden might introduce the idea that the modern world and even modern natives have lost the love and connections with both nature and people.
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All in all the major theme for this book is friendships, love, and connections. The first example of friendship is the friendship between Will and the bear. As well as being a common Aboriginal symbol, the bear in this story is a major character. The bear is old, beat up, and can only survive the upcoming winter through Will’s help. One way that Will can protect the bear is to keep silent about her. Will does what he can to protect the bear from nature and man. He feeds her regularly and tries to keep her presence quiet so that no one will try to harm her.through this friendship.
Will says that people are afraid to befriend a wild animal, at least the ones that live away from the wild animals.. ”They all say it is dangerous to befriend a wild animal. Is it for the animal’s sake or for our own? People, people who live away from wild animals, they say we are different from the creatures that roam this world. That we are apart from them. Above them.
(p.118)”. Finally Will be friends and protects a bear despite what the modern world thinks.Gordon saving Annie in Toronto is another example of the theme of love and friendship.
Gordon saves Annie from a white man who attacked her and kills him. Gordon and Annie may believe that when you save someone’s life, you become responsible for that person. Both take this idea seriously, and therefore believes that she a personal debt that she owes him after he saves her from the attacker. To fulfill her obligation, and with the Old Man’s help, Annie takes Gordon home with her.
… he cleans up well. I’ve put a few pounds on his lanky frame and reintroduced into his world the importance of bathing. He’s a good-looking guy, him.
Striking. And in the city he proved to be more than physically capable. He’s my protector. (p.
31)The last few examples of the theme of family and friendships are Will’s dreams and Annie’s pursuit to find her sister Suzanne. Even though it is common for natives to leave the reserve and never call back, it didn’t stop Annie from looking for her sister. Even though everyone chose to believe that Suzanne was dead, it didn’t stop Annie find out what has had happened to her sister. The second example is the dreams that Will has about the residential schools. In his dream Will describes how he climbs the school walls “like Ahepik, our own Cree Spider-Man” to rescue the native children. Will climbs the wall to free to children the have been imprisoned at the school.
Stolen from their parents and robbed of their culture and heritage, but the dream doesn’t symbolize the negative times in native history. The dreams symbolize how the natives made it out together through love , family and trust. All in all Annies pursuit to find her sister and Will’s dreams have proved the theme of the book is family and friendship. From Annie’s and Gordon’s relationship to Will’s and the bear’s friendship the theme of the book is clear, which is family, love and friendships.