A good answer will first detail the entire process of the Spirit Bear's attack on Cole and how this not only physically wounded him, but also psychologically humbled him. The act of physically touching the Spirit Bear can be interpreted many ways, as long as it is well defended. It can symbolize forgiveness between enemies, the link between man and nature, man's search for healing and meaning in life, and more. However, all good answers will connect the literal and figurative meanings together in a coherent argument.
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A while after the attack, the Spirit Bear tamely approaches and comes within inches of Cole’s face. Cole reaches out to touch the bear and grabs a tuft of white hair from its back. Cole is profoundly moved by the bear’s peacefulness. The mauling was a turning point for Cole. For the first time in his life, he felt no control. He was stripped physically and emotionally by the bear. For the first time in his life, Cole was physically and emotionally vulnerable in the presence of something he respected. Now the world looks different to Cole. He needed to touch the creature that had complete control of him: he needed to feel the animal that had such a profound impact on his soul.