Three Day Road Analysis

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Boyden’s Depiction of Justifiable Murder in Three Day Road Like most great war novels, Three Day Road is about death. However, Boyden’s incorporation of Cree spiritualism and views on morality, good, and evil treats death with a reverence that is atypical of that genre. Even still, deaths in Three Day Road can be divided into two categories - callous and personal deaths. Callous deaths are those such as the death of a young private by flamethrower or the sniping of a German machine gun operator from 100 yards away. Boyden gives personal deaths more attention, devoting paragraphs if not pages to their lead-up, execution, and aftermath. In stark contrast to Silko’s depiction of killing in Ceremony, Boyden shows killing as an unfortunate, but …show more content…
Through the three acts of windigo killing in Three Day Road, Boyden depicts murder as a justifiable, necessary, and even noble action, in stark contrast to the …show more content…
Niska’s father seems to be her only influence in her childhood. Their bond is most clearly exhibited when Niska accompanies her father on his journey to kill Michah’s wife and baby. Here, in contrast to the impersonal nature of the countless war deaths, Boyden presents vivid description of the events leading to the killing - the mother pleading, the baby crying, etc. As early as windigo killing is introduced to the reader, so too is its justification. Those in the Cree community say, “[Niska’s father] must kill windigos once again. We are too weak already and Micah’s woman’s madness can surely be spread in these bad times” (Boyden, 44). Immediately, Boyden gives the reader a reason to stomach the violence that is yet to come. Additionally, windigo killing is immediately tied to familial tradition, a concept of utmost importance in Native culture. This is shown when Boyden first indicates the Niska’s family history of windigo killing. “My father… made preparations to act as his own father had taught him.” Boyden describes the killing in supreme detail, including details such as the gag around the wife’s mouth, Niska’s father’s whispering into her ear, and the tenseness of his muscles. Here, Boyden also demonstrates his view of murder as an unfortunate necessity by making a point to describe Niska’s father’s eyes as sad during the act. Additionally, he covers the wife’s face with a

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