Alcoholism In The Indian Horse
Often, one progresses into substance abuse as a result of facing various challenges and experiences. This is in through Richard Wagamese’s novel Indian Horse. This is a story about an Ojibway boy named Saul who faces many bumpy roads in life and as a result, loses his sensibility. When Saul was haunted by the ghosts of his past such as the loss of his family, the loss of his identity, and the trauma from residential school experiences, he lost his moral compass, which resulted in being affected by alcoholism.
Saul loses his family at a very young age and this pain impacts him very greatly throughout the book. Without a family, Saul could not feel the sense of belonging which he would …show more content…
When Saul lost his identity and became aware that he didn’t know himself, he became mentally unstable. To not remind himself of this fact, he started drinking himself into oblivion. Saul shows how he is unaware of his identity and starts drinking alcohol because of this, as he says “... I discovered that being someone you are not is often easier than living with the person you are. I became drunk with that” (Wagamese 181). This quote is important to Saul’s progression into substance abuse because it shows that without his identity, he lost his principles and beliefs that he had. He started fighting players and played without any sportsmanship. Thus, he became mentally unstable once again. Moreover, without his identity, Saul did not know how to cope with the challenges he faced in the past. Saul’s reaction from one of the challenges he faced is stated as he says “When the racism of the crowds and players made me change, I became enraged because they were taking away the only protection I had” (Wagamese 199-200). Saul being feared from the ghosts of his past is important to analyze because it shows how he did not have a realistic way to express his feeling (“I became enraged”). This was because he did not know himself well enough to find something that could solve this problem. So in conclusion, Saul opted out onto drinking to clear the negative thoughts that cycled in his mind. Moving on, if Saul did have his identity, he would have been able to accept his past and adapt to his new life like the Kelly’s. Fred chats with Saul about how he was able to heal from the experiences of residential schooling as he says” We’re not responsible for what happened to us. None of us are.” Fred said. “But our healing - that’s up to us. That’s what saved me. Knowing it was my game” (Wagamese 210). Fred’s discussion with Saul is significant because it proves