Study Guide

Touching Spirit Bear Chapter 24

By Ben Mikaelsen

Chapter 24

  • The next day, Cole goes to the totem to carve his anger dance but doesn't know what to put there, so he leaves it blank.
  • When Edwin visits, Cole tells him about the anger dance and how he still can't figure out what to carve in order to show forgiveness. He knows that he needs to figure out a way to help Peter first.
  • He asks Edwin what he should do if he can't help Peter, and Edwin tells him that he'll need to help someone else. When Cole asks if that's why Edwin and Garvey help him so much, the old man nods and looks away—someone is having some feelings right now.
  • Over the next few months, Cole spends a lot of his time carving his totem with other animals and taking care of his campsite. Edwin comes to visit less and less.
  • Winter starts approaching and Cole eventually has to give up his morning soaks in the pond and carrying the ancestor rock because it becomes too darn cold.
  • Being confined to the cabin gives Cole time to do his schoolwork, but it also makes him feel his loneliness more acutely; sometimes he cries himself to sleep.
  • Cole spends Christmas alone, but he does hike to the shore to find a little pine tree. He carries it home and makes little ornaments out of aluminum foil. Aw. Charlie Brown would be proud.
  • The next time Edwin visits, he tells Cole that he shouldn't drown in self-pity and that he has it better than most people. When Cole asks how Peter is doing, Edwin reports that he is more depressed and no longer wants to get out of bed. He's on heavy medication now.
  • After Edwin leaves, Cole can't stop thinking about Peter and how he's totally messed up the other boy's life. He feels awful and doesn't know how to fix things.
  • In March, Edwin stops by for one of his visits and Cole can tell immediately that something is terribly wrong: The old man tells him that last week, Peter tried to commit suicide.
  • He tells Cole that when he treated Peter's life as if it was worthless, Peter began to believe it. When Cole asks what he can do, Edwin says he's not sure there's anything he can do to fix things now.
  • Cole thinks about it and comes up with a plan to bring Peter to the island and show him just how much things have changed. He knows it's a far-fetched idea and that Peter's parents will not want to go through with it, but he can't think of any other way to prove himself.
  • Then he hears Edwin's boat returning and runs out to see what's going on. Edwin tells him that Peter tried again to commit suicide, and that he wants to hear what Cole has to say about helping him.