Indian Horse Ch. 1-28

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Saul says that his name is a diminutive of his grandfather Solomon’s name. What IS a diminutive? Which members of your class are called by a diminutive? (p. 1)
A diminutive is a shortened form of a name, often used informally. While diminutives are often used as nicknames, Saul’s name is the shortened version of his grandfather’s name, Solomon.
Which four parts of the body of the Fish Clan are likened to different places or to objects in nature? (p. 1)
The cheekbones of the Fish Clan are likened to the granite ridges of their home. This depicts their face shape as sharp with hard edges. The deep brown of the Fish Clan’s eyes were likened to the fecund earth that surrounds lakes and marshes. Their long straight hair was likened to waving grasses. Finally, their hands and feet are likened to the paws of a bear, which are broad, flat, and strong.
Most of Question 2's comparisons are metaphors; which one is a simile (p.1)?
Of the above comparisons, the only one that is a simile is the likening of their feet and hands to the paws of bears. Wagamese described their hands and feet as “broad and flat and strong, like the paws of a bear” (Wagamese, 1).
What is Saul trying to convey about his people by making these comparisons to nature (p.1)?
Saul is trying to convey the connection of his people to the natural world. They have always lived off the land, in harmony with nature and its other inhabitants. The comparisons of their features to different aspects of nature also represent the philosophy of interconnectedness that is a major belief in the majority of Indigenous cultures. It represents that all parts of the world are one entity in the eyes of many Indigenous cultures. he is conveying the depth of their connection to nature. they are so profoundly connected to nature that they are PART of nature.
Where is Saul at the beginning of the story, and what is the symbolic significance of the name of this place? (p .2)
At the beginning of the story, Saul is at the New Dawn Centre, where he is being treated for alcoholism and going through rehabilitation. The name of this place, “New Dawn,” is symbolic of a new beginning and the start of a new day. It signifies that it is a place where people can have a fresh start and another chance at life. Also suggests a desire to start a new way of life
Why does he decide to tell the story of his life? (p. 2)
He decides to tell the story of his life in order to leave the treatment centre. As part of the rehabilitation process, the patients are required to share their stories. Saul then shares his story through writing.
At the end of Chapter 1, Saul says he has lost a gift, and his life has been “a trek to rediscover it.” Explain in your own words what that gift is. (p. 3)
The gift that he has lost is his Indigenous culture. He is a survivor of the residential schools, and the entire purpose of the schools was to steal away their culture. His life has been a trek to rediscover who he is. He has lost the gift of intuition. he used to connect to the world instintively, now he cannot.
What is the first reaction of the people when Shabogeesick brings the horse into the community?(p. 4-5)
The first reaction of the people was fear when they saw the horse for the first time. It was a massive creature that slightly resembled creatures they knew, yet it is something unfamiliar and scary. They did not know what to expect from the horse and were unfamiliar with its purpose.
What might the arrival of this strange animal into their community symbolize (ch. 5)?
The arrival of this strange animal might symbolise the colonizers arriving in their communities. Much like the horse, the first settlers from Europe were welcomed into Indigenous communities as a sign of friendship and amity. However, this signified a massive change on the horizon. The horse was also brought to Canada by the Europeans. It can be seen as a symbol of the colonizers through this association. Also suggests that their way of life is under attack
What does Shabogeesick’s vision of the future (p.7) suggest?
Shabogeesick’s vision of the future suggests that the residential schools and more policies on assimilation were to come in the near future. It symbolized all the negative changes that impacted the Indigenous people forever. Many of these changes occurred in a short period of time. Also suggests their way of life will be destroyed
Who does the horse belong to (p.7) and how did Shabogeesick get it?
The horse belongs to the Zhaunagush. Shabogeesick got it after the land called to him and he ventured off, returning with the horse. white people think he stole it shabogeesick sees the land and animals on it belonging to everyone
In what year was Saul born, and in what year was Richard Wagamese born? (p. 8)
Saul was eight years old in 1961, which means he was born in 1953. Richard Wagamese was born in 1955, two years later than the protagonist of his book.
Why do Saul and his brother have to hide if strangers are spotted? (p. 9-10)
Saul and his brother have to hide if strangers are spotted because Indigenous children are being taken away to the residential schools. It is so common at the time of the chapter that Saul and his brother are suspicious of all strangers. They are scared that anyone they do not recognize will take them away. Naomi doesnt want them to be stolen like rachel was
After Benjamin is stolen, Saul’s parents bring “The white man with them in brown bottles.” (p.11) Explain this metaphor.
After Benjamin is stolen, Saul’s parents start drinking. The brown bottles of liquor were first introduced to the Indigenous people by the white men who came from Europe to settle in Canada. Therefore, Saul’s parents are adopting European customs through alcohol. drown grief with alcohol sorrow caused by white men, as if they are actually inside the bottles
What different reactions did the parents have to the loss of Benjamin? (p. 13)
Saul’s mother reacts to the loss of Benjamin by shutting down and numbing herself to the pain. She becomes unresponsive and absent, seeming much older than she really was. Meanwhile, Saul’s father reacted by bottling up his emotions and releasing them through manual labour, like chopping wood or skinning a deer. dad becomes aggressive mom is sad
How does his grandmother often protect Saul from harm during this phase of the family’s life? (p.14)
During this phase of the family’s life, Saul’s grandmother protects him from harm by keeping him away from the adults whenever they drink. She would distract him by telling stories and teaching him the traditions of their Indigenous culture.
Why does Saul’s father drink less during the winter of 1960? (p. 14)
Saul’s father drinks less during the winter of 1960 as the family enters a better phase of life. They have more luxuries than they did in the past and find comfort. They are in a better financial position and Saul’s father regains some hope in life. he gets a job, more comfort, more hope, less need to drink
When Benjamin comes home, he is so physically changed that at first no-one recognizes him (p. 16). Find a quote about his face that proves he is mentally changed too.
The quote that proves he is mentally changed, “There was a wariness in his eyes and a hardness to the set of his chin." (Wagamese, 16)
2. Benjamin caught a lung disease at the residential school called tuberculosis. What are the differing reactions of the three adult family members to this discovery? (p. 17)
Naomi hugged him close and comforted him. His mother was burdened away with sadness. While his father started to drink heavily again.
Why does Naomi, the grandmother, first decide that the family must go away? (p.17)
At first Naomi believes it will be more suitable if they leave somewhere to help Benjamin as he is sick. She believes going to God's Lake will be beneficial for the children, as they will be safer and with their culture. The government will come for Benjamin and take Saul as well.
Why does she pick God’s Lake? (p. 17)
Their grandfather would have wanted the children to be at God’s Lake, as it is special to their family. "ease his spirit"
Find a quote that demonstrates Saul showing his love for his brother. (p. 18)
"When he coughed I put my hand to his back" (Wagamese, 18). Saul’s support when his brother is in pain shows how much he cares about him.
What will the family do when they reach God’s Lake? (p. 20)
The family will make the rice, and sacrifice it to their ancestors. (“The old ones”)
Find a quote that sums up the happiness and harmony of the first few weeks at God’s Lake. (pp. 21-3)
“There were game and fish and berries and we ate like we never had before. Everyone seemed to take to the promise of this place” (Wagamese, 21) “Gods of Gods Lake were pleased that we were there”
What or who calls Saul’s name? (p. 22) Why do they call? There are no easy answers to these questions!
The people that call Saul’s name are the Spirits of God’s Lake, potentially his ancestors spirits that were there before. They call as a warning to Saul, warning him of the dangers that will come to his family.
Saul has three visions. What is the first one about? (pp. 22-3). Describe it in one sentence. 4. What is the second one about? Describe it in one sentence. What is the third one about? Describe it in one sentence.
The first vision is when he saw all the people down below by the lake (past) The second vision is when it became night time, music was playing and the moon was full. It had died down however as night grew on them, silence laid heavy over everything. The third vision is when it had turned to morning, the cliff that Saul was standing on came crashing down and crushed all the people below him in the camp.
What does Saul now realize about the significance of God’s Lake to his family? (p. 25)
Saul realizes that "part of his family had died there"(25), it is a special place.
Why should this realization about God's Lake make us feel nervous about Benjamin’s fate?
Benjamin would most likely be joining his ancestors there.
Which part of a sentence gives us false hope that Benjamin might recover?(p. 26)
"my brother had not coughed the entire time. He slept quietly that whole night" (26) This is a clue of why one would think that he is recovering from the tb.
Which part of a sentence tells us that Benjamin is joining nature? (p. 28)
"You boys will crush the hulls of the parched rice from the seed" (28) can be seen as Ben joining nature. “As though the land were already reaching out and claiming him(29).
What conflict arises between Saul’s mother Mary and grandmother Naomi after Benjamin’s death? (pp. 31-2)
The conflict that arises between Saul’s mother Mary and grandmother Naomi is the debate over Benjamin’s burial. Naomi insists that they must bury Benjamin according to Indigenous traditions. Mary pushes for a “proper” burial with a priest, as she let Naomi try the traditional ways and it does not work. In the end, Mary takes her son’s body and goes back to town with the rest of the family. (This is also the conflict between opposing worldviews). Mary = christian views Naomi = traditions
An important idea in the book is the power of words. What happens to Saul’s words as his parents leave?(p. 33)
When Saul’s parents leave, Saul is speechless. “No words were in [him]” (Wagamese, 33). Their actions make them seem like strangers to him and he does not know how to react to this.
Re-read the last paragraph of the chapter. What clues suggest this is the last time he will ever see his parents?(p. 33)
He still remembers that moment with such detail, especially the “shimmer of the wake they left behind them” (Wagamese, 33). He remembers their exact actions. Saul also mentions that the canoe “slid out of [his] view forever” (Wagamese, 33). The use of the word, “forever,” hints that this is the last time he will ever see the rest of his family.
The chapter begins “The adults didn’t come back.” (p. 34). What does the use of the word “adults,” rather than “parents,” suggest?
This suggests that they are not acting like Saul’s parents, their sense of care and compassion for Saul was not present within them at the time, this can go both ways as Saul does not care for his parents because he was abandoned. distancing from them, adults aren’t acting like adults
Naomi seems to be a person only of the spirit, but she is actually very practical sometimes too. How is this demonstrated within the chapter? (Ch. 9)
she knows they can’t wait anymore or they will die
As Saul and his grandmother begin their journey, cold is their worst enemy. Find a quote to prove this (pp. 36-38).
“The cold was an awesome beast”
Saul and his grandmother fall asleep in the canoe. What wakes them? (p. 39).
They hit a boulder, waking them. They get out of the river safely but the canoe splits, and they lose all their supplies.
How does Saul’s grandmother save his life at the cost of her own? (p. 41).
She supports him and carries him when he can no longer walk. She gives him all her things to keep him warm and gives up her own wellbeing. In the end she freezes to death in the cold, saving Saul in her arms.
In the last paragraph of the chapter, Saul concludes that if the canoe had not hit the boulder, his whole life would have been very different. What do you think? Give your opinion.
His life would still be bad but better than now
As he is driven to St Jerome’s, Saul feels “lonely for the sky.” (p. 43) What does that suggest about his values, and about his new reality?
In his new reality he will be more closed off and away from the nature he and his family value so deeply.
At the school the boys are stripped, scrubbed, disinfected and their hair is cut off. Why are the nuns supposed to be doing this - what do you think is their practical justification - and what does Saul think is the REAL reason? (pp. 44-5)
The nuns seem to bring this for the practical reason of removing dirt and lice but the underlying reason is because they’re racist and want to wash off his skin.
What does the conversation between Lonnie and Sister Ignacia bring out? (pp. 45-6)Try to come up with at least three answers.
It brings out how the sisters are trying to get rid of their culture and their family, how they are trying to force their beliefs onto them and how low they think of the Indeginous people. Lonnie can’t keep his family name.
Saul thinks as the sister beats Lonnie “It sounded like she was beating a hide.” (p. 46) What does that comparison suggest?
This comparison suggests that the force Sister Ignacia was using made it seem like she wasn’t beating a person, but something that wasn’t living. This is significant because it shows that Sister Ignacia does not see the Indigenous children as living people, but things who need to be “fixed.” answer: to Sister Ignacia, children like Lonnie are animals.
After she has beaten Lonnie, Sister Ignacia’s mouth curves into a slight “grin” and she looks “beatific.” (p.47) Look up what this word means. What do these details tell us about her?
The word, “beatific,” means the following: “of, possessing, or imparting beatitude or blessedness.” This tells us that she believes that hurting Lonnie and abusing the Indigenous children is the righteous thing to do. She feels happy about her actions, because she believes that she is imparting Christianity upon them. Answer: horrific to realize she felt happy beating Lonnie
Why is Saul viewed as an “outsider” by the other children?(p. 48)
The other children treated Saul as an outsider, calling him “‘Zhaunagush’ because [he] could read and speak English. Most of them had been pulled from the deep North and knew only Ojibway” (Wagamese, 48).
What survival mechanism does he develop in his early days at the school? (pp. 48-9) He uses isolation to be away from other people.
Keeps himself hidden and silent in a chrysalis of silence.
In this chapter there are four stories of indigenous children: Curtis White Fox, Arden Little Light, Sheila Jack, and Shane Big Canoe. What do all of these stories have in common?
They all passed away. answer: cruelty that children undergo breaks them to the will of the religious clergy. they either die or lose their mind.
The last paragraph of the chapter begins “St Germ’s scraped away at us, leaving holes in our beings.” (p.52) What literary device is used here, and what do we learn about what happened to the children at the school?
The literary device used was a metaphor. You can see that the school took a part of them and those holes were filled with their culture until it was taken away. The damage was done slowly.
“I could never understand why the god they proclaimed was watching over us could turn his head away and ignore such cruelty and suffering.”(p. 52). What does this suggest to us about Saul’s feelings on religion?
It seems that it is suggesting that he doesn't strongly believe unlike Mary. answer: why would god turn away from children suffering
What is the symbolism of this chapter (ch.13)? (pp. 53-54)
The children see themselves as the fish. They in the residential schools, are symbolized as the fish are out of the water.
How does this symbolism apply even more to Saul than to the other boys?
Because Saul is a seer, therefore this may be foreshadowing what happens to the children in the future. He comes from the fish clan.
What is the difference between Saul’s outer and inner selves?
Saul’s outer self is an enclosed, quiet boy, distant, whereas his inner self is an intelligent being, full of thoughts.
Identify the qualities that are different about Father Leboutilier from the other priests. (p. 56)
Father Leboutilier is more kind than other priests. He wants the best for the children but under law is forced to do things he doesn’t want to. He’s younger than most but he also has a sense of humor. He wants to do activities with the children rather than control them.
Find two comparisons that suggest that while playing hockey the boys are in touch with their wild, natural selves. (p. 57)
The hockey team he is going to play for is called Moose. They broke with the abandoned mustangs . They hurdled like comets.
What particular aspects of hockey can Saul see immediately? (p. 58)
A built in family and understanding. When Saul plays hockey he finds a sense of belonging. He finds escape in past trauma of the residential schools. He knows what players will do before they act.
How in any way does this relate to the kind of skills his great- grandfather Shabogeesick used?
Saul’s grandfather had the gift of intuition and was called a “seer.” He used this gift to learn about the world and how things work. Saul inherited this gift from him and uses it to learn hockey and how it works. Both of them understand territory. Where you need to move to to be successful.
Saul clears the ice every morning. How does he start to use this chore to his advantage? (p. 61)
Saul uses this to practice hockey. He isn’t allowed to play because he is too young, but he uses this chore to be on the ice while nobody else is watching. He quickly teaches himself to play during this time.
Find a quote that proves the extreme joy hockey brings him. (p. 62)
“I would get out of bed and stand in the aisle… and mimic the motion of stickhandling.” (62) “I would raise my arms in the hushed light of the dorm.” (62)
Why does he no longer feel alone? (p. 62)
He would no longer feel alone when he is playing hockey, “I’d stand there, arms held high in triumph, and I would not feel lonely or afraid. (62)
The phrase “magical kingdom” (p. 63) is an important one to describe Saul’s feelings. The concept of hockey being like magic to him is easy to understand, but what does the word “kingdom” add to the description?
A kingdom sounds like a place in a ferry tale, when Saul is on the ice he feels like the king of hockey.
What does the second paragraph bring out about Saul’s personality (ch. 17)?
It demonstrates how determined and hardworking he is.
What does the image of the bird suggest about what hockey means to Saul? (p. 64)
It represents his freedom.
Find a quote that shows Saul is a seer- someone able to see beyond the immediate present. (p. 65)
“I learned to envision myself making moves before I tried them”
Hockey allows the boys to use some of the skills they would have used in their traditional lives as hunters and warriors. What skills are these?
They used teamwork, they are a gathering of kin, they chase after the puck as if it was an animal.
How does Saul get his first chance to show his hockey skills? (pp. 68-70 Why do the boys who had previously treated him as an outsider make “a spot for me among them?” (p. 71)
Saul gets his first chance to show his hockey skills when one of the team’s players is injured. He fills in for the missing player and stuns everyone with his skills. After proving his value, he is welcomed among the other boys as an equal.
What argument does Father Quinney use to Sister Ignacia that the still too young Saul should be allowed to play hockey? (p. 72)
Father Quinney argued that Saul had a “‘God-given gift for it, Sister’” (p. 72).
Briefly, in your own words, what three options does Saul consider about why his parents have not returned for him? (p. 73)
Saul considers that his parents couldn’t find him, were ashamed of abandoning him and couldn’t face him, or were too alcoholic to care about finding him.
Why does it seem unlikely that the St Jerome’s team can win against their opponents? (p. 75)
They do not have as much experience as the other teams.
How many goals and assists does Saul get in their victory (ch.20)?
He got 3 goals and 2 assists.
Why does the Father’s words “That was beautiful…You were beautiful” and “The game loves you” mean so much to him? (pp. 76-7)
That was the moment when he once loved the game back. He feels loved all of the sudden since he has been lonely for so long. He is happy to make someone feel proud.
Compare the ending of chapter 20 (p. 77) to the beginning of chapter 21 (p. 78). Why does the start of the chapter come as such a shock?
Chapter 20 ends on a positive note. Saul being loved by the game and people cared about him made him happy. The start of the next cmapter comes as a sharp, brutal reminder that all has not changed
Saul concludes that the school is not really much of a school as they only do lessons for about an hour a day. (p. 79) What do the children spend most of their time doing instead of learning?
Children spend most of their time producing things, just doing labour, eating, sleeping, and getting abused.
What happens when one of the children, like Lenny Mink, dies? (p. 80)
Nothing, children who die are never spoken of again.
In your own words, what are three ways in which the children are treated as farm animals? (p. 80)
Food and drink, made to work, and locked up at night.
What is the Iron Sister? (p.80)
Small metal box to lock kids in.
All of these punishments are terrible, but what is the real “hell on earth”- the thing that is even worse than the Iron Sister? (p. 81)
The self loathing. The school creates a sense of unworthiness and shame
Why do the children never speak to each other about the night time sexual assaults and rapes? (p. 81)
They try to avoid piling more humiliation and shame onto those who are abused.
How does hockey allow Saul to reconnect (in a limited way) with his culture? (p. 86)
He is now recognized as one of the Ojibway at the school. He became a brother
Saul starts to play for a local team, White River, and performs very well for them. After 10 games, he is cut from the team, even though “I’m the best they got.” (p. 91) What does this statement by Saul reveal about his self-knowledge?
He is very aware that he is the best player but does not realize the element of racism Racism - “white man's game”
Why is he cut from the team? (pp. 91-2)
The fathers believe that hockey is a white mans game and dont want an indegnous player to be better then their sons.
What two massive advantages does playing on the Moose have that playing on the White River team lacked? (pp. 94-5)
The team is an Indigenous team. Also means Saul will go live with a family away from the school. (escaping 8-year detention at St. Jeromes.)
Despite the horror of the years in the school he feels a bit reluctant to leave. Why? (p. 97)
The school was”the only place I had known for the past five years” he will also miss father leboutilier.
What is the point of the little scene just before he leaves the school, in which he sees a young a girl in the hallway that he does not know? (p. 97)
The little girl has “no expression but surrender”. It reminds the reader of the lack of hope the children have.
Write a couple of sentences in your own words about what kind of town Manitouwadge is. (p. 99)
Manitouwadge is not a very friendly town. It is populated with tough men, loyal women and immature children. Everyone was rough and rude. redneck, rough, hardworking, racist
Saul compares his team members preparing for their game to “soldiers arming themselves for battle.” (p. 102). Identify three ways in which the boys are like soldiers about to engage in combat.
1. specialized clothing 2. compared to weapons 3. tense about meeting opponents
By the end of the game, Saul has been accepted by the boys and tells himself that he “is a Moose.” (p. 107) Why do the boys accept him beyond the obvious reason that he is so skilled that he will help them to win a lot of games?
Because he is seen as a “little brother” to the players. Saul shows spirit and dedication - not a selfish player and will pass the puck to others to score
The rinks that the Moose play games in are outdoor rinks, with no ‘luxuries’ such as indoor heated dressing rooms, scoreboards or even a players’ bench. (p.110) Why, nevertheless, do the boys enjoy playing these games so much, despite the uncomfortable conditions?
The boys don’t care about the conditions or any small negative aspects, all they care about is the game. They have no need for luxuries, they are just there to be together and play the game. relish the attitude of the crowd. “people loved the game”
What is the attitude of the boys as they travel around, being “hockey gypsies”? (p. 113)
They were joyous and not tired, as they loved traveling and playing games together. “We only thought of the game and the brotherhood that bound us together off the ice…” (Wagamese, 113) they are happy, and don’t question or complain about their treatment don’t think about deprivation or race
The chapter ends with Virgil’s observation to Saul that when he is on the ice “It’s like watching you walk into a secret place that no one else knows how to get to.” (p. 116) What does this suggest about the meaning of hockey to Saul?
Like his grandfather, Saul is a "seer". Saul has the ability to become part of the energy of the game. Saul sees this ability as a mystery, like the mysteries of the universe that his grandmother told him about. Saul watches from the sidelines as the team practices for their first organized game. Saul can monitor the unseen electricity of the game and become a part of it. This is a metaphysical place that only Saul can enter.
Father Leboutilier comes to see Saul play. What does his statement “That’s what I hoped for when I sent you to the Kellys. That the game would lift you higher” (p. 117) draw attention to?
This quote shows that father Leboutillier is very caring for Saul’s well being and mental state. Being lifted higher is like saying he wanted him to be in a better mental state and for him to become his best self. reminds Saul that Father’s intervention let him have transformative experience
What might the description of the Father holding Saul so close that “I could hear his breathing” (p. 116) hint at?
Father Lebouilier's feelings for Saul goes beyond coach and player. His relationship is partly sexual.