Indian Horse


Richard Wagamese

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Indian Horse can help.
Current Battle Ends 2/28
We'll make guides for February's winners by March 31st—guaranteed.
Current Battle Ends on 2/28/2021
Time Remaining

Indian Horse: Chapter 39 Summary & Analysis

Saul remembers a girl from St. Jerome’s, whose name was Rebecca Wolf. Rebecca was a beautiful, mature girl, but her little sister, Katherine Wolf, was very timid. The priests and nuns began punishing Katherine, and when Rebecca tried to protect her sister, Rebecca was punished as well. One night, Katherine died, but Saul never found out what happened.
In this short, surprising chapter, Saul disrupts the chronological flow of his story. But this sudden interruption with a story from the past mirrors the way that Saul himself keeps looking back, reliving his traumatic years at St. Jerome’s.
Cultural Genocide Theme Icon
Abuse and Trauma Theme Icon
The next morning, Rebecca Wolf walked outside and sang a traditional Indigenous Canadian song. Shortly afterwards, she stabbed herself with a knife and died. Saul and his classmates proceeded to sing the song Rebecca sang when she was mourning the death of her sister, refusing to make eye contact with the priests and nuns as they did so.
In this passage, the students of St. Jerome’s use Rebecca’s song as an expression of solidarity with one another, as well as with Rebecca and Katherine. It shows how resistance to oppressive circumstances can take many forms—a theme which ties this seemingly strangely-placed chapter into the themes of the previous chapter, in which Saul finally lashed out against his racist opponents and was punished for doing so. The implication is that resistance to abuse often, unfortunately, has to take subtle and indirect forms rather than overt and direct ones like lashing out at opponents on the ice.
Cultural Genocide Theme Icon
Abuse and Trauma Theme Icon