Indian Horse

The youngest son of Fred Kelly and Martha Kelly, Virgil is Saul Indian Horse’s closest friend in the novel. A confident, friendly, matter-of-fact teenager when Saul meets him, he encourages the much younger Saul to play on the hockey team (of which he, Virgil, is the captain), and eventually becomes Saul’s main confidant. Years later, when Virgil is reunited with Saul, he’s angry that Saul left town so suddenly, but he also understands some of what Saul has gone through. He is, in short, a true friend: someone who continues to love and respect Saul, “warts and all.”

Virgil Quotes in Indian Horse

The Indian Horse quotes below are all either spoken by Virgil or refer to Virgil. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Family and Tradition Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Douglas & McIntyre edition of Indian Horse published in 2012.
Chapter 36 Quotes

"My dad never talks about the school," he said. "Mom neither. And they don't say anything about what happened before that. Maybe someone just gave you a chance to rub the shit off the board once and for all."

Related Characters: Virgil (speaker)
Related Symbols: Hockey
Page Number: 157
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 55 Quotes

"Did you want to hunt that fucker down? Make him feel some of the same pain?" Virgil asked. He still couldn't turn away from looking at the ice.
'At first, yeah. Then, the more we got into it at the centre the more I realized it was more than just him. I'd be hunting a long time if I lashed out at everyone. In the end, I learned the only one I could take care of was me."

Related Characters: Saul Indian Horse (speaker), Virgil (speaker), Father Gaston Leboutilier
Page Number: 217
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 56 Quotes

"Even up here in the sticks, we like to use a hockey puck to play hockey," Virgil said and pushed out onto the ice.
"Old habits," I said when he reached me. "New days," he said.
"The guys here?"
"Them and more," he said.

Related Characters: Saul Indian Horse (speaker), Virgil (speaker)
Related Symbols: Hockey
Page Number: 220
Explanation and Analysis:
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Virgil Character Timeline in Indian Horse

The timeline below shows where the character Virgil appears in Indian Horse. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 25
Family and Tradition Theme Icon
Fred introduces Saul to his family. He has three children: Garrett, Howard, and Virgil. Virgil is captain of the Moose. Soon after meeting Saul, he tells him that the... (full context)
Family and Tradition Theme Icon
...and strength. Nobody passes him the puck, so Saul intercepts it and passes it to Virgil, who scores a goal. Virgil tells Saul, “Nice pass.” (full context)
Family and Tradition Theme Icon
After practice, Fred Kelly smiles and tells Saul, “Welcome to the Moose.” Virgil hands him a soda, and he drinks it, proudly thinking, “I was a Moose.” (full context)
Chapter 26
Family and Tradition Theme Icon
Racism and Prejudice Theme Icon
...the rituals of playing hockey for the Moose. He and the other players pile into Virgil’s van and drive to other towns. In every one of these towns, to Saul’s delight,... (full context)
Chapter 27
Family and Tradition Theme Icon
...likes his adopted parents, Fred Kelly and Martha Kelly. He gets along with his brother, Virgil, who becomes his “closest ally.” Virgil helps Saul study for school, and encourages him to... (full context)
Family and Tradition Theme Icon
Transcendence Theme Icon
...second winter in his new community, Saul begins waking up early and practicing hockey with Virgil. Nearly everyone Saul plays hockey with is bigger than he is, but this makes Saul... (full context)
Chapter 29
Family and Tradition Theme Icon
Racism and Prejudice Theme Icon
Transcendence Theme Icon
...are playing a game, they notice a group of “white guys” watching. After the game, Virgil tells Saul that the white people want to play the Moose. Virgil has even agreed... (full context)
Chapter 30
Family and Tradition Theme Icon
Racism and Prejudice Theme Icon
Transcendence Theme Icon
...starts, a man comes into the locker room and asks for the Moose “lineup card.” Virgil, who's never been asked for this before, is forced to quickly jot down his teammates’... (full context)
Racism and Prejudice Theme Icon
...at the sight of Saul and yells that he must be the Moose team’s mascot. Virgil tells his teammates to play “Just like [they] always do. No matter what.” (full context)
Racism and Prejudice Theme Icon
...teammates’ eyes. The game resumes, and he pushes himself hard. He passes the puck to Virgil, who scores a goal, tying up the game. In the final minute, Saul manages to... (full context)
Chapter 31
Racism and Prejudice Theme Icon
...of big, tough-looking white men approach the team and declare, “We don’t eat with Indians.” Virgil boldly asks the men to step outside. A couple minutes later, Virgil staggers inside, his... (full context)
Abuse and Trauma Theme Icon
Racism and Prejudice Theme Icon
...Saul learns that the white men beat up the Moose players and urinated on them. Virgil tells Saul, “They hate us because we’re skins.” The teammates never mention the incident again,... (full context)
Chapter 32
Family and Tradition Theme Icon
Racism and Prejudice Theme Icon
...my game.” The Moose end up losing the game. After the game, Saul complains to Virgil that the Moose deserved to win—the Clippers kept on making illegal, aggressive plays, and the... (full context)
Chapter 35
Family and Tradition Theme Icon
Transcendence Theme Icon
...offer. Saul asks, “What if I don’t make it?” but his teammates insist, “You will.” Virgil is most persuasive: he tells Saul, “You owe me,” referring to the initial encouragement he... (full context)
Chapter 36
Family and Tradition Theme Icon
Transcendence Theme Icon
...accepts Jack Lanahan’s offer to train in Marlboro. In his final days with the Moose, Virgil pushes Saul especially hard in his training to prepare him for the rigors of big-league... (full context)
Family and Tradition Theme Icon
Abuse and Trauma Theme Icon
Virgil tells Saul, “You’re like a brother to me.” Saul nods and explains that he used... (full context)
Chapter 37
Racism and Prejudice Theme Icon
Transcendence Theme Icon
...not to make him look bad. Making use of the muscles he’s built up with Virgil’s help, Saul outskates his opponents and scores a goal. Gleefully, he approaches his teammate and... (full context)
Chapter 40
Racism and Prejudice Theme Icon
Saul arrives back in Manitouwadge and walks from the bus stop to the Kelly house. Virgil answers the door, and, surprised, invites Saul inside. “What happened?” he asks. He tells Saul... (full context)
Abuse and Trauma Theme Icon
Racism and Prejudice Theme Icon
Saul tells Virgil that he intends to work in the mines or the local mill. When Virgil tells... (full context)
Chapter 43
Family and Tradition Theme Icon
Abuse and Trauma Theme Icon
Racism and Prejudice Theme Icon
...find work elsewhere, and suggests that he stick around, where he’s surrounded by his friends. Virgil claims that Saul is running away from his troubles, but Saul denies this and prepares... (full context)
Chapter 53
Family and Tradition Theme Icon
Abuse and Trauma Theme Icon
Fred Kelly informs Saul that Virgil now works in a mine and has three children. Saul and Fred have lunch, and... (full context)
Chapter 54
Family and Tradition Theme Icon
Abuse and Trauma Theme Icon
Saul goes to the nearby ice rink, where he finds Virgil coaching the boys. Saul watches the boys playing, and realizes that Virgil must be an... (full context)
Chapter 55
Abuse and Trauma Theme Icon
After practice, Saul and Virgil sit on the bleachers and talk. Saul isn’t sure where to begin, but Virgil interjects:... (full context)
Family and Tradition Theme Icon
Abuse and Trauma Theme Icon
Virgil tells Saul that he should come back to town and get a job. He adds... (full context)
Chapter 56
Family and Tradition Theme Icon
Cultural Genocide Theme Icon
Abuse and Trauma Theme Icon
Racism and Prejudice Theme Icon
Transcendence Theme Icon
In the midst of the game, Saul turns and sees that Virgil, Fred, and Martha have been watching him play. Behind Virgil stand several of the original... (full context)