Does Thomas King create Will's identity in Medicine River through the use of the five senses and memory?

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In chapter 1, Will reads the letters between his mom and dad, and this scene supports the argument that Thomas King creates Will’s identity by using the five senses to examine his memory. This scene involves sight, sound, taste, and touch.

Will says the letters are in a locked wooden...

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chest in his mom’s closet. The wooden chest relates to touch and sight. One can imagine the wooden chest and how it feels. Once Will opens the chest, he finds a box of photographs. The photographs link to sight as Will closely examines the pictures and details what he sees.

The letters are under the photographs, and they once again refer to sight. One can see the position of the letters in the chest. Soon, Will’s mom comes home and spots him reading the letters. She gets palpably upset. “I could see her hands clench and tremble,” says Will. Here, sight is paired with touch—violent touch—since his mom then slaps him two times.

After Will’s mom hits him, he lies beside the bed with his tongue “clamped” between his teeth. The presence of the tongue ties to another sense—taste. All these senses help King create Will’s identity and examine his memory because they bring to life his absent father, who plays a crucial role in the narrative.

For additional examples that center on the five senses, consider discussing Will’s memories of Erleen Gulley or his memory of the time his mom decided to get a family portrait (which can be found in chapter 15).

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