The presentation of trauma in Indian Horse College
“Indian horse” presents how colonization and residential schools traumatized the first nations people. This trauma is evident in how people who had valued community and teamwork were suddenly separated and turned against each other. In how their very identity and language was stripped from them and defamed. It was seen in how graphic violence was viewed as commonplace. Furthermore, trauma is capitalized upon when we see how Saul was emotionally manipulated and raped, in the diction of the text and the PTSD that the adults suffer from.
Community has always been an important part of the first nations experience, because they grew up in tribes, working together, depending and helping one another. But then the white man came. Soon the community and belonging that mattered so much to them was taken away, and instead, all that was left was a sense of alienation and unbelonging from their own people. In the opening pages of the novel Saul beings the story as “we”, an inclusive pronoun. But soon his narrative converts to “I”. This transition is symbolic of how he was alienated and isolated from his own people. And after belonging to a community, he is suffering the pain of that separation. He describes the separation from his people...
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