Forgiveness from Rage
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24 November 2011
Forgiveness from Rage
In this story “Touching Spirit Bear,” Cole Mathews is an out of control and angry young man who tends to get caught up in delinquent and volatile acts of violence. He comes from a home with a long history of violence, so he is a victim of circumstances. Coles bad luck was not of his own making; however, he was born into a home that radiated with violence. His father was an alcoholic, and an abused child who also came from an abusive home; and his mother was a pacifist who also turned to alcohol in order to avoid the abuse that was brought upon her and her son. So Cole went from trashing and robbing stores to, beating up kids like peter all over the anger that was given to him in his household. In this story “Touching Spirit Bear” Ben Mikaelsen addresses Coles anger to help him find forgiveness for self and towards others.
Like in the beginning his first fit of anger is showed towards Peter, because he chose to “rat” on Cole. This was the beginning of his anger that was displayed outside of his home towards someone who is considered weaker than Cole. Peter is a young boy who attends his school and is an easy target. He is quiet and out of place, not very popular and not very aggressive like his counterpart Cole Mathews. Cole was still angry with this kid for ratting on him. He told Peter “Youre a dead Man” (Mikaelsen 8). Cole beat Peter into a hospital and was later told that Peter might suffer permanent damage. Peter now walked with a slight limp, and impaired speech, all because of anger from Cole; that could not have been controlled not even by students who witnessed this attack. Jail is now where Cole is headed and this time his parents cant even get him out of this predicament. It seems to be all another joke, something to laugh about since he has been in situations like this in the past. The courts have just warned him and slapped him on the wrist, and offer him some days in jail with probation and send him home. His daddy even helps him with representation and bail money so that he can be released. But not this time! Cole has two options. 1. Go to jail or 2. Participate in “Circle;” however Cole does not find either one appealing since he always counted on one last chance. But there were no more chances for Cole; it was either the detention center or Circle Justice. Circle Justice is a form of Restorative justice that has been practiced by the Native American Culture for thousands of years, and even though Cole was not an Indian Garvey his parole officer said that anyone was capable of love, forgiveness and healing and this is what Cole needed. To heal, and to learn to love and also to be able to forgive those that he has transgressed against.
Cole has already made up his mind that he hates his parole officer Garvey and fights with him every step of the way. Garvey is part of the Tlingit tribe who has also had a very sordid past. He has also been through the circle and has lived to tell about it. Garvey sees a lot of himself in Cole and feels that he needs to save this young man in order to give back to those he was unable to give back to when he was offered to participate in the “Circle.” The Circle, included Garvey (Coles parole officer), Cole, Coles parents, Peter, Peters parents, and other community members, they decided that by banishing (would be the punishment) Cole to an isolated Alaskan island near his parole officers ancestral hometown, they can both teach Cole a lesson