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INDIAN HORSE: What forms does this racism take and what effect does it have on Saul directly?


rachelng127 1 / 3  
Nov 3, 2020   #1

racism impact on Saul in Richard Wagamese novel



Racism and prejudice are disturbing problems that have existed for a long time. Indian Horse is one of the most famous novels in which author Richard Wagamese uses racism as one of the main themes. It is set in the 1950s-1970s during the height of the residential school systems which aimed to destroy indigenous culture and language. Racism is most evident during Saul's hockey arc; such as when the town team refuses to let him play with them during his time at St. Jerome's, when he has to watch his team get beaten by the white men in the café and the constant racism displayed against him during his time playing for the Marlboros in Toronto.

The town team does not want Saul to play against them because they think Indigenous Canadians are ineligible to play hockey. Saul's passion is suppressed by the stereotypes and discrimination he receives from others. Saul realizes the reason for that rejection is because of his background. Father Leboutilier expresses this sentiment when he tells Saul, "they think it's their game." (Wagamese, 53) However, the actual reason lies in Saul's talent; it is shameful and humiliating to let an Indigenous person who is derived from the second class defeats them in their own game and plays better than their own children. Saul feels like an outsider.

Second, the victory of the Moose, the hockey team Saul joins after leaving St. Jerome's, is celebrated by the villainous beatings of white men. They utter extremely hard words, such as "It's not [Indians'] place to ask [them] anything. [Indians] wanna eat here [Indians] gotta fight for it." (Wagamese, 76) Whites use horrid violence not only to express their xenophobia but also to vent their embarrassment of being beaten by people they judge inferior in every way. Watching his teammates suffer savage brutality in turn causes Saul to begin to notice small acts of racism during matches. For example, he witnesses that many opposing players never remove their gloves to shake hands after a game.

Last but most certainly not least, the racial onslaught becomes more and more pronounced, intense and continuous during Saul's time in Toronto. When Saul is playing as a rookie, others ignore him, even push him. Saul's talent is rewarded with the center position in the Marlboro team, but even so, the press often attaches him to words like "Rampaging Redskin". No matter how hard he has tried, he is still an outcast. These cruel acts make someone who is patient with everything like Saul as frantic and irritable than ever. "... [He can] never shake being the Indian. So [he becomes] a puck hog." (Wagamese, 96) Saul's stamina is exceeded that leads him to fight back those white players.

In conclusion, racism is excelled and skillful in the novel Indian Horse, especially in hockey's part. Thereby, Saul's reactions are built and developed in an increasing trend towards the fierce distinction. Eventually, it is obvious that racism, in many forms, ruins Saul and his rare talent as well as turns his brilliant future into a dead end.
Holt  Educational Consultant - / 12,846 4177  
Nov 6, 2020   #2
The forms of racism are strong in your presentation. However, I feel that the analysis is not as strong as it can be. You are trying to pass off the narration of the event as an opinion that forms your response to the effect that racism had on the main character directly. You need to balance that discussion. Quickly state the form of racism, if you can call it by a proper identifier, then do so, along with the description. Then create a more analytical presentation of the effect is has on the person. Look for reasons the racism helped to build or take down Saul as a person. Why did that happen? Do you consider it helpful or not? This is more than just a look at the act of racism, it is an analysis of how racism affects the development of a person.


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