In the captivating story of "Touching Spirit Bear" by Ben Mikaelsen, readers are introduced to Cole Matthews, a troubled and violent young boy. Throughout the novel, Cole undergoes a remarkable transformation, unraveling the complex layers of his character. This article delves into the various facets of Cole’s character and the changes he undergoes.
Cole’s Initial Characteristics and Transformation
At the beginning of the story, Cole is portrayed as a violent and angry teenager. His rage stems from a tumultuous upbringing, marked by alcoholic parents and abuse. The early chapters of the novel showcase the darkness in Cole’s life, but the story takes a significant turn.
Learning to Become Invisible
One of the pivotal moments in Cole’s journey is when he learns the art of invisibility. He carves a totem and uses ash and cedar to mask his scent, attempting to blend in with the wilderness around him. This transformation signifies his growing understanding of the world and his place within it.
Seeing Himself in the Spirit Bear
As the story progresses, Cole’s perspective shifts dramatically. He begins to see himself differently, no longer identifying as a juvenile delinquent. His encounter with the Spirit Bear plays a crucial role in this transformation. The Spirit Bear becomes a symbol of his connection to the natural world and the circle of life.
The Dance of Anger and Forgiveness
Cole’s dance of anger is a poignant moment in the novel. This dance symbolizes his inner turmoil and the release of pent-up emotions. The most significant word in this dance is "forgiveness." Cole’s journey towards forgiveness is a central theme, as he apologizes to those he has wronged.
Garvey’s Influence on Cole
Throughout the story, Garvey, a key character, provides support and guidance to Cole. Garvey’s resilience and commitment to helping Cole rehabilitate are evident. He becomes a mentor who stands by Cole’s side during his transformation.
Facing the Past: Cole’s Perspective on Death
Cole’s perspective on death evolves as he begins to comprehend the circle of life. He accepts the inevitability of death and seeks to make the most of his life, mirroring the themes of transformation and growth in the novel.
The Complex Relationship with the Spirit Bear
Initially, Cole harbors a deep hatred for the Spirit Bear. This animosity is rooted in his belief that violence is the only solution, a mindset instilled by his troubled upbringing. However, his encounter with the bear sets the stage for a profound shift in his worldview.
The Symbolism of the Totem Pole
As the story unfolds, Cole’s carving of a totem pole becomes a symbolic act. This totem pole represents what he has learned about his anger, his connection to nature, and his journey towards forgiveness. It’s a tangible representation of his transformation.
Rescue and Redemption
Throughout the novel, we witness the rescue of Cole, not only from the island but also from the darkness within himself. Edwin and Garvey play instrumental roles in his rescue, emphasizing the importance of a supportive community in one’s journey to redemption.
Cole’s Complex Background
The backdrop of Cole’s troubled family life adds depth to his character. His cold and distant parents, marked by alcoholism and abuse, significantly contribute to his initial anger and violent tendencies.
The Symbolism of the Bear’s Hair
The white hair pulled from the Spirit Bear takes on symbolic meaning in the story. It represents a connection to nature and is passed to Garvey, signifying a transfer of knowledge and understanding.
Cole’s Connection to Nature
Throughout the story, Cole’s connection to nature deepens. His experiences with the animals, such as the baby sparrows, symbolize his growing awareness of the circle of life and his own transformation.
The Trial and Resolution
Cole’s journey is a complex one, and it reaches a turning point when his father is arrested and charged with child abuse. This event is pivotal in his path to recovery, as it unravels the layers of his family history.
Conclusion: Cole’s Remarkable Transformation
In "Touching Spirit Bear," Cole Matthews undergoes a profound transformation, shedding his violent tendencies and embracing forgiveness and the beauty of the natural world. The journey of this troubled teen from anger and violence to understanding and forgiveness is a central theme of the novel. "What Does Cole Look Like" in the beginning may be vastly different from the Cole we see by the story’s end, embodying the power of personal growth and redemption.
This thought-provoking narrative serves as a reminder that even in the darkest of circumstances, there is potential for positive change and personal growth.
The Symbolism of Cole’s Transformation
What is Cole’s Physical Appearance?
- Age: Cole is fifteen years old.
- Size: He is notably big for his age, which he uses to intimidate others.
Cole’s physical appearance is relatively sparse in the narrative. He is a fifteen-year-old who stands out due to his size, being larger than most of his peers. This stature often becomes a tool he uses to assert dominance and intimidate others. Although Cole is described as white, his physical appearance is not a central focus in the story. Despite his size and demeanor, he is allowed to attend the justice circle, where his character and personal transformation take center stage.
Does Cole Have a Toothpick?
- Signature Accessory: Yes, Cole is often seen with his trademark toothpick.
In moments of relaxation, Cole is frequently spotted with his signature toothpick, adding to his distinctive style. Fans of Yellowstone might also recognize this as a prominent part of his look. Cole’s fashion and accessories have garnered attention on platforms like Instagram and Men’s Journal, where his relaxed demeanor, along with his toothpick, is a notable feature.
How Does the Keeper Look at Cole?
- Assessing a Troubled History: The Keeper observes Cole’s history of anger and violence.
In the narrative, the Keeper’s gaze is discerning. He highlights Cole’s troubled history of anger and violence, indicating a history that has had a significant impact on the story. The interaction with Peter further reveals the weight of Cole’s past actions, with tension in the air as they communicate. Cole’s discomfort and regret are palpable, underscoring the complex dynamics at play in the narrative.
Why Does Rip Cole Have Dark Hair?
- Distinguishing Character: Rip Cole’s character sports dark hair beneath his iconic cowboy hat.
The choice for Rip Cole to have dark hair in the series is a deliberate one. This decision was explained by the actor on The Jenny McCarthy Show, where he clarified that his natural hair color was too similar to that of Kelly Reilly, who portrays his love interest, Beth Dutton. The change in hair color aimed to create a more distinct appearance for the character, setting him apart in the context of the show.
What Does Cole Look Like in "Touching Spirit Bear"?
- Innocent Appearance: The novel portrays Cole Matthews as an innocent-looking and baby-faced fifteen-year-old from Minneapolis.
In "Touching Spirit Bear," Cole’s physical description emphasizes his youthful appearance. Described as a baby-faced teenager, he hails from Minneapolis and has a history of trouble since a young age. The contrast between his innocent appearance and his troubled past forms an essential aspect of his character in the novel.
Why Did the Bear Make Cole So Angry?
- Complex Emotions: Cole’s anger towards the Spirit Bear arises from a mix of factors.
When Cole attacks the Spirit Bear, his anger is multi-faceted. At one level, he is frustrated that the bear does not show fear in his presence, challenging his expectations. However, on a deeper level, the bear’s indifference pushes him to confront and care about his own existence and actions. Through this experience, Cole begins to realize that he is not solely defined by his anger, leading to a significant moment of self-discovery in the narrative.