What central problem confronts the main character in Touching Spirit Bear?
Cole was unable to manage his anger and blamed his violent outburst and bitterness on his parents. He blamed his father for hitting him and his mother for doing nothing about it. Cole meted out the same violence on his peers during his moments of anger. During one of his ‘normal’ fits of rage, he hit Peter, one of the other boys, badly enough that he was sent to jail. A probation officer who visited him frequently offered him an opportunity to serve his sentence in the Circle of Justice (an alternative way of helping troubled individuals deal with their deeper issues).
Cole at first believed that this was an opportunity to escape serving the jail time. He believed the banishment was better than the jail time as it also presented him with an opportunity to escape. After he first arrived on the island Cole made futile attempts to escape. He eventually decided to stay on and as time went by he began to change his attitude. Cole’s behavior improved gradually, as time on the island taught him to face his fears including that of anger. Due to his achievements on the island, Cole offered to help Peter face his own fears after he was informed that the boy was deeply troubled after their previous encounter.