Touching Spirit Bear

by

Ben Mikaelsen

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Touching Spirit Bear can help.

Garvey Character Analysis

Garvey is Cole’s parole officer after Cole is arrested for assaulting Peter. Garvey is built like a bulldog and annoys Cole, since he’s unwaveringly friendly, visits all the time, and seems to see right through Cole’s tough façade. He’s the one to suggest that Cole participate in Circle Justice, though he also insists that he’s not going to help Cole unless Cole truly buys into the program. He also brings up the possibility of banishment for Cole—Garvey is Tlingit and knows that his community in Alaska still facilitates banishment for young people. Upon leaving Cole on the island, Garvey gifts Cole an at.óow (tribal blanket) as a symbol of trust and friendship, though he can tell that Cole doesn’t understand the significance of the gift. Cole hates Garvey for his role in getting him onto the island, but when Garvey rescues Cole after the Spirit Bear mauls him, Cole clings to Garvey more than anyone else. Garvey remains dedicated and loyal to Cole through Cole’s time in the hospital and, with Edwin’s help, facilitates Cole’s return to the island. During the few days that Garvey and Edwin are there with Cole—even though Cole and Garvey have a much better relationship by this point—Garvey refuses to give Cole any leeway to be selfish and rude. During their time together, Cole does begin to wonder how he ever could’ve hated Garvey when Garvey is so kind, caring, and funny. Garvey eventually shares that he went to jail for five years as a young person because Circle Justice wasn’t an option for him—and he helps Cole for this reason. When Circle Justice agrees to send Peter to the island to try to recover, Garvey takes his accrued vacation time to supervise the boys. He acts mostly as a quiet, friendly buffer as the boys cautiously begin to trust each other.

Garvey Quotes in Touching Spirit Bear

The Touching Spirit Bear quotes below are all either spoken by Garvey or refer to Garvey. 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:
Fear, Power, and Cycles of Violence Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the HarperCollins edition of Touching Spirit Bear published in 2002.
Chapter 1  Quotes

Cole didn’t trust Garvey. He didn’t trust anyone who wasn’t afraid of him.

Related Characters: Cole Matthews, Garvey
Page Number: 3-4
Explanation and Analysis:

“Justice should heal, not punish. If you kill my cat, you need to become more sensitive to animals. You and I need to be friends, and I need to forgive you to get over my anger. That’s Circle Justice. Everybody is a part of the healing, including people from the community—anybody who cares. But healing is much harder than standard punishment. Healing requires taking responsibility for your actions.”

Related Characters: Garvey (speaker), Cole Matthews
Related Symbols: Circles
Page Number: 12
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 3 Quotes

“Will Peter be there?”

Garvey shrugged. “It’s up to him. He may not be ready to forgive you.”

“I don’t care if he forgives me.”

Garvey rubbed the back of his neck, then glanced up toward the ceiling. “How come everything is always about you? This forgiveness isn’t for you. Unless Peter forgives you, he won’t heal.”

Related Characters: Cole Matthews (speaker), Garvey (speaker), Peter Driscal
Related Symbols: Circles
Page Number: 33
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 4 Quotes

“If the Driscals realize that the Circle allows them to have a voice in decisions, and that forgiveness can help Peter to heal, they may also join the Circle.”

“You mean they might help decide my sentence?”

Garvey nodded. “Maybe.”

“They’ll hang me,” Cole said. “I’m dead.”

“I think you’ve already hung yourself,” Garvey answered.

Related Characters: Garvey (speaker), Cole Matthews (speaker), Peter Driscal, Mr. Driscal, Mrs. Driscal
Related Symbols: Circles
Page Number: 35
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 12 Quotes

Frantic, Cole struggled to fly, but he couldn’t escape the nest. All he could do was open his beak wide and raise it upward toward the sky, the action a simple admission that he was powerless. There were no conditions, no vices, no lies, no deceit, no manipulation. Only submission and a simple desire to live. He wanted to live, but for that he needed help; otherwise his life would end in the nest.

Related Characters: Cole Matthews, Garvey, Edwin
Related Symbols: Spirit Bear
Page Number: 94
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 13 Quotes

“I did care about you. But helping others is how I help myself.”

“You need help?” Cole asked, surprised.

Garvey nodded. “I see a lot of myself in you. When I was your age, I spent five long years in prison for things I’ll go to my grave regretting. I lived my early years here in Drake, but no one cared enough to take me through Circle Justice.” He shook his head with a sad smile. “Take my word for it, jail scars the soul. And I was never able to help those I hurt.”

Related Characters: Garvey (speaker), Cole Matthews (speaker), Cole’s Dad, Peter Driscal
Related Symbols: Circles
Page Number: 107
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 14 Quotes

“Ever wonder why your dad beats you?”

Cole looked up, surprised. “I’ve never done anything to him.”

“I didn’t say you did.”

“He just whips me ‘cause he’s mad.”

Garvey smiled. “Remind you of anybody we know?”

Related Characters: Garvey (speaker), Cole Matthews (speaker), Cole’s Dad
Page Number: 120
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 15 Quotes

“I just know that my dad’s not going to ever come back to say he’s sorry. Even if he did, he couldn’t change what he did. He couldn’t take away all the memories.”

“So you think this is all his fault, huh?” asked Edwin.

“No,” said Cole, his voice trembling. “Mom said his parents beat him up, too. I don’t know where the anger all started. All I know is I don’t ever want to have a kid and beat him up.”

Related Characters: Cole Matthews (speaker), Edwin (speaker), Garvey, Cole’s Mom, Cole’s Dad
Page Number: 132
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 20 Quotes

“I just realized that I’m not a bad person. Nobody is,” he said. “People are just scared and do bad things. Sometimes people hurt each other trying to figure things out.” Cole gazed into the flames. “I hate what Dad does to me, but he must be just as scared as I am. He doesn’t want to be mean; he just doesn’t know any better.”

Related Characters: Cole Matthews (speaker), Edwin, Garvey, Cole’s Dad, Peter Driscal
Page Number: 168
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 26 Quotes

“I think it’s a matter of pride. He thinks he can always get his way and doesn’t want anyone or anything to win out over him.”

Cole traced the eraser of his pencil across the table. “I used to be like that.”

“I know you did.”

“Do you think he’ll win?” asked Cole.

Garvey shook his head. “Over my dead body.”

Related Characters: Garvey (speaker), Cole Matthews (speaker), Cole’s Dad
Page Number: 219
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Touching Spirit Bear LitChart as a printable PDF.
Touching Spirit Bear PDF

Garvey Character Timeline in Touching Spirit Bear

The timeline below shows where the character Garvey appears in Touching Spirit Bear. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1 
Fear, Power, and Cycles of Violence Theme Icon
...he’ll begin his yearlong banishment in Southeast Alaska—the only way to avoid jail in Minneapolis. Garvey, a Tlingit Indian and Cole’s parole officer, sits in the middle of the boat. Cole... (full context)
Fear, Power, and Cycles of Violence Theme Icon
...dad the most—with guards watching, he can’t hurt Cole. His parents finally stop visiting, but Garvey visits daily. Cole doesn’t understand what Garvey wants. One day, Garvey asks if Cole would... (full context)
Fear, Power, and Cycles of Violence Theme Icon
Justice and Responsibility Theme Icon
Cole is dismissive and doesn’t know why he’d do this, but Garvey points out that Cole is also a victim—something happened to make him kill a small... (full context)
Chapter 2
Fear, Power, and Cycles of Violence Theme Icon
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Back in Minneapolis, Circle Justice had seemed like a joke. Garvey told Cole to plead guilty and assured him that he can withdraw it at any... (full context)
Fear, Power, and Cycles of Violence Theme Icon
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
...lost; he can only find himself if he searches. They head back to the shelter. Garvey offers Cole a small bundle. He says it’s called at.óow: it’s a blanket that’s been... (full context)
Fear, Power, and Cycles of Violence Theme Icon
Ritual Theme Icon
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Cole asks if this means that Garvey trusts him. Garvey says that if Cole promises, he’ll believe Cole. Cole accepts the blanket.... (full context)
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In Minneapolis, Garvey told Cole that he had bigger issues than getting out of detention—like finding a sponsor... (full context)
Chapter 3
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...cares—nobody understands what it’s like to live with parents who don’t want him to live. Garvey is one of the worst offenders—Cole remembers when Garvey showed up at the detention center... (full context)
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As Cole swims, he thinks about Garvey’s “stupid cake demonstration” and his application to Circle Justice. When Cole’s application was accepted, Garvey... (full context)
Chapter 4
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Justice and Responsibility Theme Icon
...bay now and angles for the island, still thinking about Circle Justice. Back in Minneapolis, Garvey explained that all the meetings Circle Justice holds are circles because life is a circle.... (full context)
Chapter 6
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Garvey takes the feather and asks the group what caused Cole’s anger—and what they might have... (full context)
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...parents’ hands. The guard comes in to put handcuffs on Cole, but before he leaves, Garvey stops and notes that Cole isn’t buying any of the Circle Justice stuff. When Cole... (full context)
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Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
...the ashes and coaxes a fire to life. The weather is beautiful, but Cole remembers Garvey saying that this spot gets a lot of rain. Cole thinks this is silly. He... (full context)
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Ritual Theme Icon
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It’s all Garvey’s fault that Cole is on the island in the first place. After the fifth Circle... (full context)
Chapter 7
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
...wishes he could wait for better weather. He needs to leave today, or Edwin and Garvey will return to check on him. Cole settles in under the at.óow to watch the... (full context)
Chapter 9
Fear, Power, and Cycles of Violence Theme Icon
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
...the full moon and wonders whether he wants to live or die. He remembers that Garvey and Edwin had both said something about a circle, but he can’t remember what. Cole... (full context)
Chapter 12
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Justice and Responsibility Theme Icon
...it’s not the at.óow. He realizes he’s in the bottom of Edwin’s boat and that Garvey is leaning over him. The bouncing motion of the boat makes the pain worse. (full context)
Fear, Power, and Cycles of Violence Theme Icon
Justice and Responsibility Theme Icon
...him up and tuck him in. When Cole opens his eyes, looking for the at.óow, Garvey and Edwin step forward. Garvey says plainly that the fallen tree must’ve gotten Cole, but... (full context)
Chapter 13
Fear, Power, and Cycles of Violence Theme Icon
Justice and Responsibility Theme Icon
...the Tlingit nurse as Rosey, the best and only nurse in Drake. When Cole shivers, Garvey passes Rosey the at.óow. Rosey rejects it because it’s wet, but Cole grabs at it.... (full context)
Justice and Responsibility Theme Icon
Garvey remarks that the bear did a lot of damage and apologizes to Cole, but Cole... (full context)
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Justice and Responsibility Theme Icon
Cole wakes and reaches out, calling hoarsely for Garvey. Garvey turns on the light, and Rosey rushes in. Cole tells them about his dream,... (full context)
Fear, Power, and Cycles of Violence Theme Icon
Ritual Theme Icon
Justice and Responsibility Theme Icon
...Rosey leaves to fetch something, Edwin asks Cole what happened. Cole hesitantly tells Edwin and Garvey everything. Garvey points out that Cole might never use his arm again, but Cole insists... (full context)
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Garvey incredulously says that he also let a bear maul Cole, and now, Cole still has... (full context)
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...strong enough to just tell the truth. He insists he’s telling the truth. Edwin and Garvey step away and once he’s alone, Cole pulls the white fur out of his pants... (full context)
Chapter 14
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Justice and Responsibility Theme Icon
Six months later, Cole limps slowly out of the hospital. Garvey is next to him; Cole’s mom and a guard are behind. Cole’s dad didn’t visit... (full context)
Ritual Theme Icon
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...of him—the therapist made it clear that he needs to fight to walk and move. Garvey tells Cole that healing his mind will be even harder and that he’s not sure... (full context)
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The next afternoon, Garvey shares that the Justice Circle will meet with Cole again—but they’ll probably send his case... (full context)
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Cole settles in. His dad never visits, but Garvey and Cole’s mom stop by every day. Cole’s mom looks happier. One day, she suggests... (full context)
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A week later, Garvey announces that the Justice Circle meets the next night. Both of Cole’s parents know about... (full context)
Chapter 15
Justice and Responsibility Theme Icon
...Other Circle members say it’s time to send Cole’s case back to the courts, but Garvey insists that Cole has changed and should be allowed to change more. Peter’s lawyer, however,... (full context)
Fear, Power, and Cycles of Violence Theme Icon
Ritual Theme Icon
...to say that Cole’s dad won’t pay his legal fees anymore. Then, two days later, Garvey and Edwin stop by. Edwin tells Cole to explain how he’s changed, and Cole shares... (full context)
Chapter 16
Fear, Power, and Cycles of Violence Theme Icon
Justice and Responsibility Theme Icon
...Cole thinks he must’ve been crazy to try to swim away last time. Edwin and Garvey move the boxes of supplies to shore, and all three of them drag the boat... (full context)
Justice and Responsibility Theme Icon
Annoyed, Cole eyes the boat, but he decides to stay. When Edwin and Garvey return two hours later, Cole is putting up the tent. Edwin wants to know why... (full context)
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Garvey says that the hot dog did what Cole asked of it—it fed him. Garvey asks... (full context)
Chapter 17
Fear, Power, and Cycles of Violence Theme Icon
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Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
...they’ll “dance [their] feelings” around a fire tomorrow. Cole lies awake long after Edwin and Garvey fall asleep, thinking of the Spirit Bear: he wonders if it’s angry or curious. He... (full context)
Chapter 18
Fear, Power, and Cycles of Violence Theme Icon
When Cole and Edwin get back to camp, Garvey is sipping coffee. He points out whales, and Edwin says that tonight, they’ll dance the... (full context)
Ritual Theme Icon
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Cole pulls out hamburger for dinner, irritated that Garvey is smiling. Cole’s hands are blistered. Annoyed, he makes three hamburgers but only cooks one.... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
...fire, pretending to dive and duck like a whale. Ten minutes later, he stops, and Garvey takes over. Garvey jumps, imitating a whale breaching. Aware that he has no choice but... (full context)
Fear, Power, and Cycles of Violence Theme Icon
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Garvey stands and announces that it’s time for bed. He gives Cole ointment for his blisters.... (full context)
Ritual Theme Icon
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
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...what’s best, but Edwin says that nobody knows what’s best—he says that maybe he and Garvey just want to redeem themselves for what they’ve done wrong. Cole snaps that it’s his... (full context)
Chapter 19
Fear, Power, and Cycles of Violence Theme Icon
Justice and Responsibility Theme Icon
...his blisters, he points across the bay to something. Edwin says it’s a wolf and Garvey announces that they’ll dance the wolf dance later. Cole builds the roof silently. He’s not... (full context)
Justice and Responsibility Theme Icon
Cole is certain that Garvey is bluffing, but it’s not worth it to test if he’s right. He stumbles back... (full context)
Fear, Power, and Cycles of Violence Theme Icon
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Edwin and Garvey head for the tent. When Cole asks about the wolf dance, Garvey tells Cole to... (full context)
Fear, Power, and Cycles of Violence Theme Icon
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Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
As Cole hikes, he wonders if Garvey and Edwin will really take him back to Minneapolis. He’s so lost in his thoughts... (full context)
Chapter 20
Fear, Power, and Cycles of Violence Theme Icon
Justice and Responsibility Theme Icon
...wonders if he really just saw the Spirit Bear. He wonders if he should tell Garvey and Edwin; they might think he’s making it up. Neither of them speaks as Cole... (full context)
Fear, Power, and Cycles of Violence Theme Icon
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Justice and Responsibility Theme Icon
...all day, and by evening, all that’s left is to install the stove. Edwin and Garvey inspect the cabin and tell Cole what else he needs to do before winter; Edwin... (full context)
Fear, Power, and Cycles of Violence Theme Icon
Ritual Theme Icon
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...and hands him the driftwood. Edwin performs his dance by stalking up behind Cole and Garvey until they stop looking at him. Garvey dances by “foraging” for things. Cole smiles and... (full context)
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Justice and Responsibility Theme Icon
Cole sleeps well, and in the morning, both Edwin and Garvey get up with him. Cole leads the way to the pond, feeling proud, and wades... (full context)
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Edwin shows Cole how to install the stove, and then he and Garvey pack up. Garvey gives Cole a hunting knife and says that the knife is like... (full context)
Chapter 21
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...Edwin says little, but he looks approvingly at Cole’s handiwork. Cole asks Edwin to thank Garvey again for the knife. Edwin leaves, and this time, Cole doesn’t feel so desperately lonely.... (full context)
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...the ocean and realizes that it’s the first day he’s felt angry since Edwin and Garvey left. Though he tells himself he’s angry because he slept poorly, he knows he’s actually... (full context)
Chapter 24
Fear, Power, and Cycles of Violence Theme Icon
Ritual Theme Icon
...If Cole can’t help Peter, he needs to help someone else—this is why Edwin and Garvey help Cole. (full context)
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Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
...busy, Cole has more time to think about his loneliness. He thinks about his parents, Garvey, and Peter—who, according to Edwin, is growing more depressed. Cole’s anger returns more often, though... (full context)
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...Cole helps carries supplies to the cabin and makes them cocoa. Edwin finally shares that Garvey called: Peter tried to commit suicide. Cole is shocked, but Edwin isn’t surprised—he suggests that... (full context)
Chapter 25
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...give Peter the chance to come here or watch him kill himself. Cole suggests that Garvey come, but Edwin counters that Cole isn’t the most important thing in the world. Cole... (full context)
Justice and Responsibility Theme Icon
...closer. He sees Edwin’s small boat and a fishing trawler. Edwin is in his boat; Garvey, Mr. and Mrs. Driscal, and Peter are on the trawler. Peter stares at his knees,... (full context)
Fear, Power, and Cycles of Violence Theme Icon
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...from the group to sit by himself. When the fire is blazing, Edwin explains that Garvey will stay with Cole and Peter. Mr. Driscal tells Cole forcefully that he and Mrs.... (full context)
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...explains how he dances and shows everyone his totem pole. Though Cole tries to evade Garvey’s questions about the empty space at the bottom, Edwin tells Cole to tell the truth.... (full context)
Chapter 26
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Cole prepares his favorite meal for everyone that night and explains how Garvey taught him that life is a hot dog. He spreads the at.óow on the table... (full context)
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Garvey returns to the cabin. Cole pulls out a Snickers bar and walks down to Peter.... (full context)
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...to come back to the cabin until Cole is in his tent, 100 yards away. Garvey brings Cole supper later, and when Cole asks when he can come back, Garvey bluntly... (full context)
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Back at camp, Cole suggests they gather more firewood. Garvey invites Peter to help, but Peter walks away without a word. Cole grouses that they’re... (full context)
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...doesn’t want to get used to it. The rain persists, and Peter grows more sullen. Garvey remains happy and joking. One rainy day, about a month after Peter’s arrival, Cole sits... (full context)
Chapter 27
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Cole races into the cabin. Garvey winks at him as Cole heats water for hot chocolate. Though Peter refuses a drink,... (full context)
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...carve his own totem, but Peter is derisive. After lunch, however, he accompanies Cole and Garvey to the shore and helps them drag the log up next to Cole’s. Peter doesn’t... (full context)
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...When he’s done, he says that mice are persistent and bold, and that they’re survivors. Garvey’s dance seems to interest Peter. Garvey says that mice often go unnoticed. Peter’s dance is... (full context)
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...away because he decided to stop lying. That afternoon, Peter asks for some time alone. Garvey and Cole go on a hike, and as they head back, Cole sees Peter carving... (full context)
Chapter 28
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Cole, Garvey, and Peter go to the pond together through the summer until one morning, Peter suggests... (full context)