Touching Spirit Bear

why is the story set where it is? How would it be different if it were set in another location ?

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The story starts out in Minneapolis but much of it is set on a remote island off the coast of Alaska. The whole point of the plot is that Cole, a city kid and our protagonist, spend a year in isolation on this island. He chooses this punishment over going to prison. The island serves as a setting to cleanse Cole. It offers a place of solitude where Cole can rediscover who he is. This location works for the story because it is rough and unforgiving. It also ensures that the boy is isolated. It has the mystical Spirit Bear so it ties into the aboriginal lore of the book. Another location would not quite tie into the themes of self-discovery with this aboriginal sub-text.