Indian Horse

Indian Horse Chapter 24 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
For the rest of hockey season, Saul competes in scrimmages with his teammates. Father Leboutilier continues to work one-on-one with Saul, inspiring him to improve his game.
Leboutilier seems to take a special interest in Saul, recognizing that Saul is a talented hockey player who’d benefit from extra instruction.
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One day, a man named Fred Kelly comes to watch Saul and the other players practice. Father Leboutilier explains that Kelly coaches a big tournament team, The Moose. Tournament teams, he elaborates, compete in “Native Tournaments,” since many of the teams from big towns don’t like competing against Indigenous Canadians. Kelly tells Saul, “What I seen here, it’s no wonder they’re scared to play you.”
Fred Kelly is a hockey coach, and seems to understand, as Saul has already learned, that the world of hockey is a microcosm of racial tension. White hockey teams dislike playing against (and especially losing to) Indigenous Canadian teams. As a result, Kelly’s team of Indigenous Canadians only competes against other Indigenous Canadian teams.
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Father Leboutilier explains that Fred Kelly has come to make Saul an incredible offer. Saul will live with Kelly and his wife, Martha, who’ll become his legal guardians. Saul will play with Kelly’s Tournament Team and learn more about hockey than he ever could while playing with St. Jerome’s. Furthermore, Fred and Martha are former students of St. Jerome’s.
It’s unnerving for Saul to have to make such a big decision before he knows Fred Kelly well at all. However, Saul’s life at St Jerome’s is so miserable that almost anything, it would seem, would be an improvement.
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When Father Leboutilier mentions Fred Kelly’s idea to Sister Ignacia, Ignacia is disgusted. She claims that hockey is a “soulless game,” even after Father Leboutilier points out that it will give Saul “a chance at a better life.” Despite Ignacia’s resistance, Father Quinney agrees to let Saul move in with the Kelly family. He says that Saul is clearly a bright kid and a great hockey player, and that to hold him back from a better life would be a sin.
For the last time, Leboutilier stands up for Saul, defending Fred Kelly’s offer when the other teachers dismiss it immediately. Leboutilier is unique among the faculty members insofar as he seems to embody the virtues of his Christian faith: he really believes, for example, that he has a duty to educate Saul and enrich his talents because they’re God-given.
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Having spoken amongst themselves, the priests of St. Jerome’s ask Saul if he wants to move in with the Kelly family. Saul hesitates, and then says, “I’ll go.” It’s one of the first big choices he’s ever made in his life.
Saul’s decision to live with Fred Kelly marks his coming-of-age. By making an independent, autonomous decision in favor of a better life, he assert his maturity and takes control over the direction of his own life, though he does so with some hesitation.
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Related Quotes
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Saul prepares to leave St. Jerome’s. He gathers his few belongings and then walks outside to where Fred Kelly is waiting. Before he leaves, he embraces Father Leboutilier, who whispers, “Go with God.”
Leboutilier seems to be the ideal priest: he’s sincerely interested in helping his students, and he’s motivated by a strong religious faith. In their time together at St. Jerome’s, he and Saul have built a strong relationship.
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