Study Guide

Touching Spirit Bear Chapter 18

By Ben Mikaelsen

Chapter 18

  • The next day, Cole wakes up and spends the day working on his shelter. He's a little peeved that Edwin and Garvey refuse to help, especially since he has a bad arm. Instead they just sit there and offer him suggestions. Ha.
  • At the end of the day, Cole cooks himself a single hamburger and eats it. Then he tells them to make their own food while he goes to sleep.
  • This does not fly with Edwin, who insists Cole cook for them first. He also tells him that they're going to dance afterwards—no wallflowers allowed.
  • Even though he doesn't want to, Cole makes them delicious burgers with mushrooms, onions, and cheese. Mmm…
  • Then he waits while Edwin stokes up the fire and says that they're going to dance like animals… literally. He starts off by leading them in a whale dance.
  • Cole stares at Edwin and Garvey dancing. He doesn't want to join in, but it's not like he has a choice. He dances while trying to feel like a whale, and then listens as Edwin and Garvey say what they've learned from their dances.
  • Cole says that he's learned that a whale migrates, but it doesn't have a real home, just like him.
  • As they get ready for bed, Cole asks Edwin what the dance of anger is. Edwin says it's the hardest dance of all—the one where you face your anger before releasing it. He says that it's up to Cole to dance that one alone after Edwin and Garvey have left the island.
  • The next morning, Edwin wakes Cole up to go bathe in the freezing cold water. After, Edwin makes Cole carry a rock up a hill, saying that it represents his ancestors and all the history from his life and the lives that have come before.
  • Cole struggles to get to the top of the hill, and then rolls the rock down like Edwin tells him to, in order to let go of his anger and let it roll away. Edwin says he's carried the same stone up the hill hundreds of times.
  • This doesn't sit well with Cole, who doesn't want to have to carry a heavy stone up a hill every single morning. When he asks Edwin why he's telling Cole what to do, Edwin says that he and Garvey might be trying to find redemption for their own mistakes by helping Cole.