Indian Horse

Indian Horse Chapter 52 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Saul returns to the New Dawn Center. He’s not sure what he hopes to get out of returning to the facility, but he knows that he wants to talk about his experiences.
Where before Saul was quiet and standoffish, he’s now eager to talk about his past—a sure sign that he’s willing to work on some of his problems.
Themes
Family and Tradition Theme Icon
Abuse and Trauma Theme Icon
After talking with Moses, Saul decides to visit Fred Kelly and Martha Kelly. He drives to their town, and when he knocks on their door they greet him warmly and invite him inside. Saul confesses that he isn’t sure what he wants to say, but Fred replies, “Sometimes it’s better to just sit.”
Instead of continuing to sit in therapy with Moses, Saul tries speaking to Fred and Martha—two kind and loving people who, crucially, know something of what Saul has been through (both because they know him personally and because they themselves attended St. Jerome’s).
Themes
Family and Tradition Theme Icon
Abuse and Trauma Theme Icon
Saul admits to Fred and Martha that there are things about his past which he hadn’t ever admitted to himself. Fred nods and quietly says, “About the school.” Martha explains, “We always knew. Not specifically. But we were there too.” Saul begins to ask, “Were you …?” and Fred replies, “Many times.” Saul asks, “Did they rape everyone?” and Martha replies, “It doesn’t have to be sexual to be rape.”
In this scene, a lot of information is conveyed indirectly. It is implied, for example, that Fred and Martha were both sexually abused by teachers during their time at St. Jerome’s. It has been suggested that the Indigenous school system was a magnet for child rapists and pedophiles, who were able to act on their desires under the guise of piety and without the fear of anybody finding out, since the Indigenous children had been taken away from their families. Martha’s words could be interpreted to mean that the colonization of Indigenous lands was itself a “rape” of Indigenous culture.
Themes
Family and Tradition Theme Icon
Abuse and Trauma Theme Icon
Fred gives Saul some advice: “Keep your stick on the ice and your feet moving. Time will take care of itself.”
In essence, Fred’s advice to Saul is that Saul will need to keep working on his mental health for a long, long time—maybe his entire life—but that healing will eventually come. Fred, who seems to have dealt with similar feelings of guilt and self-hatred as a result of abuse, speaks from experience.
Themes
Family and Tradition Theme Icon
Abuse and Trauma Theme Icon
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