Three Day Road

Killing to Belong: The Windigo in Joseph Boyden's "Three Day Road" 12th Grade

In Joseph Boyden’s novel “Three Day Road,” the windigo killer plays an important role within the central characters’ Cree community. Through their separate, individual experiences, both Niska and Xavier struggle to assert their place within this community through attempting to kill an augmented version of their own windigo. For Niska, her Frenchman lover represents this windigo in a metaphorical sense. Niska’s murder of the Frenchman is a blatant attempt to feel she belongs as a windigo killer in her community.

In her first story, Niska implicitly tells Xavier that she wants to fulfill the windigo killer role within her tribe. Niska first introduces herself as an outcast, who distinctly does not fit in with anyone. She is not akin with the other children, who think she is “damaged” and “crazy”(Boyden, 35), and feels “too young to be accepted by the adults”(46). Seemingly, Niska is only accepted and comforted by her father who she wants to “watch over” and “stay close to”(36). Even with the possibility of discovering the world for herself before her “first blood of womanhood,” Niska chooses to have “nothing of that” and instead “[stays] close to [her] father”(36). Because of her lack of self-discovery, her father very heavily...

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