What are the conflicts in Touching Spirit Bear

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All four major conflicts of literature are in Ben Mikaelsen's coming-of-age novel.

  • Man vs. Society 

 The protagonist, Cole Matthew, a juvenile delinquent has agrees to be part of a rehabilitation program called Circle of Justice practiced by Native American cultures; he does this only to keep from being imprisoned. In truth, Cole does not wish to repay Nature; he simply wants to avoid imprisonment by choosing to stay on an Alaskan island. He is filled with hatred for authority.

After Garvey departs, Cole rejoices thinking the world is made of suckers and fools and today Garvey is at the top of the heap. It is not until he is mauled by the bear and faced with death that Cole listens to Garvey who rescues him and Rosey who provides medical attention. 

  •  Man vs. Man

Cole’s family is at the root of his problems: his father beat him severely when he was young, while his mother weakly did not intervene. Consequently, he feels hatred for them both. When he is sentenced in court, he tells the...

(The entire section contains 702 words.)

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