Loneliness as a destructive force (What turned Saul into a person that…
Loneliness as a destructive force
What turned Saul into a person that wanted to be isolated and lonely
Being the over looked child
Saul’s mother has been a depressed woman Saul’s whole life and was sparked from Saul’s sister and brother been taken away to residential schools. Saul show this by narriting “She was gaunt and drained from days of weeping … when Benjamin disappeared he carried a part of her with him” (Wagamese 11).
Saul's Father: “When they returned they brought the white man with them in brown bottles” (Wagamese 11). This is Saul showing how the government was winning by taking the native children away from their parents and turning their parents into people that used alcohol as their coping mechanism.
"...kept me away from the adults when they were in grips pf a drink" (Wagamese 14)
"The adults didn't come back" (Wagamese 34). Saul's parents did not care enough about him to come back and take care of him which led to him being an orphan.
He was so broken and isolated from everyone that he just wanted to be loved. The only way he recevived any love is from Father.
“It’s what he whispered to me in the dim light of his quarters, what he said to 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…” (Wagamese 199)
"I loved the idea of being loved so much that I did what he asked" (Wagamese 199)
Isolation from the native childern
"At St.Germ's the kids called me 'Zhaunagush' because I could speak and read English" (Wagamese 48). This shows how he was shunned by his own race because he could speak English and no one else could.
How he could read from the regular library which made the other kids dispize him. Made them feel lesser than. Which in turn made them not want to be with Saul.
The isolation from the native children made him want to play hockey and gave him time to practice. Although because of his wanting to practice it gave him more time with Father L. This could be one of the reason that Saul was led to be abused by Father L.
He was with his team where he should not feel centered out. Saul was centred out though because he was younger and he was better then any one else he played with
"'You play a hell of a game, little star' 'That and the fact that you're a kid gives you a pass" (Wagamese 135)
"They pissed on us, Saul" (Wagamese 135). This shows the rage Virgil felt towards Saul for being not beaten by the white people in the bar. This makes Saul feel more isolated because Saul keeps his feeling inside. Sauls feeling would be why couldn't I be beaten up just to feel the same as the others.
He was finally left alone from anyone and everyone. From his coaches to the players he played with no one cared about him because he was different. This would be hard for someone having absolutely no one in a new town.
Saul's being away from everyone resulted in his rage on the ice. This is when his loneliness destroyed him and he was kicked off the team for it.
"Finally, they benched me completely. After one night of sitting in the stands, I packed my bag and got on a bus back to Manitouwadge" (Wagamese 166)
Saul thought that instead of dealing with his conflicts he could downed them out with alcohol.
“In alcohol I found an antidote to exile” (Wagamese 181)
This shows that Saul had finally found a coping mechanism for his problems. The problem with alcohol being his coping mechanism was that it almost takes his life. This in the end makes Saul confront his problems instead of internalizing his emotions like he has been doing his whole life.
a young age due to racism in the community.
Saul had a love for hockey. He was not always welcome to the games because he was Native, and the other boys were white.
“… ‘but there is no game for you. They don’t want you to play’ ‘It’s because I’m Indian’” (Wagamese 91)
This was the sparking of Saul always thinking that his skin colour was the reason why he never could become an NHL hockey player like he saw on television.This caused Saul even as an adult to feel unwelcome and not want to play with or against White people.This was Saul being afraid of something as a child and never letting go of it.
Saul faced being stripped of his Native identity. Which created more identity issues for himself.
When Saul was taken to the residential school the goal of the school was to turn Saul into a person of White society instead of Native.
“ ‘At St. Jerome’s we work to remove the Indian from our children so that the blessing of the Lord may be evidenced upon them’” (Wagamese 46-47)
This would put Saul in a place where he did not fit into a Native society or a White society. This would fester in Saul because he did not know what race he belonged too. He was unwanted and blamed it on himself. He never had a fair chance on integrating into either society.
Personality Traits from Theme
When Saul started playing hockey in Toronto it was like a switch turned on and turned him into a person who was angry every time he touched the ice.
“I flipped my right glove off at the last second and drove my fist into this face. I fought three of them before they hauled me off the ice. That was the end of any semblance of joy in the game for me” (Wagamese 165)
This anger made Saul lash out and was driven by him being the only Native on the team which was hard. Also, he was far away from anyone that cared about him. So, his loneliness boiled over. Saul became angry at the game and anyone around him. The anger inside of him drove him out of hockey and farther away from civilization.
When Saul was a child he showed a lot of sadness which had to do with his Grandmother dying.
“Frozen to death saving me, and I was cast adrift on a strange new river” (Wagamese 42)
With Saul’s Grandmother dying it was the first time that Saul was officially alone. He never got to grieve her death even though it was a very sad moment in his life. Saul’s grandmother was someone that Saul loved, and she loved him back. He felt he was the reason for her death. So, his sadness of her death also made him not want to get close to people. For he thought getting close to people he could be the reason someone dies.
Saul was always quiet around people. This was because he felt he had nothing to talk about that was happy or that was appropriate to share his past with others.
“‘You’re like a brother to me...’ ‘I had a brother once’ I said. ‘What happened to him’ ‘I never talk about it’” (Wagamese 157)
This shows that Saul would not even talk about his past with Virgil. Saul would rather stay quiet then talk about his past. This is just another way Saul push someone that cares about him away.