Saul's Vision

In chapter six of Indian Horse, written by Richard Wagamese, Saul ventures around God's lake when he hears someone call out his name. Saul stands over the edge of a ridge where he sees a community of people. Saul watched as he witnessed the children play in the water, the women laugh, and the elders of the community nod to him from below. However, night suddenly falls over God's Lake and Saul starts to feel a great hunger. Suddenly, it is morning and Saul witnesses rocks falling onto the community of people living by the lake. Saul begins to weep at the sight of the heavy boulders crushing the community as he turns to find Naomi staring at him.

When first reading this chapter, I thought nothing of it and I figured that there might have been other people living on God's lake at the same time Saul's family arrived. However, after further analyzing this chapter, it became clear to me that what Saul witnessed didn't actually happen. Not to say these events never happened but rather was a vision of the past. It was a vision because nobody is allowed to live by God's lake according to Naomi in chapter 5, therefore suggests that what Saul saw was actually a vision or dream. This vision may not have seemed important at the time, however looking back at this vision, it's almost like a metaphor to describe something from Saul's past, or his families past. The author wanted the reader to take away something from this vision.

The way I interpreted this vision of Saul's, was from a more open-minded perspective. In chapter 7, Naomi mentions to Saul that this land used to belong to his ancestors, but as Saul concluded, "God lake belonged to our family because part of our family has died there, and their spirits still spoke from the trees" (Wagamese, 25). The way I saw this was that the vision Saul had, was actually of his ancestors and possibly showed how his ancestors who previously lived on the land had been wiped out.

I think that the author was trying to demonstrate how Saul's clan has had a very rough past. For example, as shown in Saul's vision, all his ancestors were essentially wiped out by this landslide. Even currently from what I have read so far, Saul's sister had been taken at a very young age, Benjamin had been taken away by a residential school and came back extremely sick, and Saul's grandmother Naomi had died, trying to save Saul. From all of these events that had occurred, and Saul's vision, I think the author is trying to suggest that there is a pattern of tragic destruction that continues to occur repeatedly over generations of Saul's clan.

Image result for cultural genocide
Indigenous people dressed like "Europeans"
This can somewhat relate to the cultural genocide that Saul's family faces at the time. All these events that are occurring to Saul's clan are from a direct cause, cultural genocide. For example, Benjamin wouldn't have been sick or taken away by residential schools if European settlers weren't trying to assimilate Indigenous culture. Saul's ancestors might not have been crushed by a landslide on God's lake if settlers hadn't displaced his clan in the past. All the tragic events that Saul's family continues to face are more or less caused by cultural genocide.

The tragic vision that Saul had in chapter six of his ancestors being wiped out by a landslide can be interpreted in many ways. The way I interpreted this vision could be different from others. However, my literary circle agrees that Saul did indeed have a vision about his ancestors. I truly think that the author was trying to show the bigger picture that Saul continues to face the destruction of his life/family and loss of identity that had occurred in his families past for generations. To conclude, I also think that the author will continue to use "metaphors" such as Saul's vision to portray the "bigger picture" of events that occur throughout the remainder of the book.

Works Cited

Wagamese, Richard. Indian Horse: a Novel. Milkweed Editions, 2018.

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