Windigo Motif In Three Day Road

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Xavier has turned on his friend by now, he is fully knowledgeable of the fact that only one of them is going to make it back home. Through spiritual malfeasance of the windigo, Elijah is totally consumed. Xavier was always jealous of Elijah in a way. Elijah would boast and make stories sound more dangerous making himself a hero. Xavier kept silent all along even though everything Elijah knows about killing he owes to Xavier. Xavier has finally become a Windigo killer.

“Their morphine eats men. It has fed on me for the last few months, and when it is all gone, I will be the one to starve to death. I will not be able to live without it.” (Boyden 10)

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Xavier Bird is a victim and is eventually defeated by the powers and doings of the people that he encounters during the war, as well as by the continuous windigo forces that act upon him throughout the progression of the war. Xavier’s heavy addiction to morphine leads to him losing the emotional and physical capacity to want to live. Niska repeats and constantly thinks to herself, Xavier has come here only to die. ‘I know now that it is more than medicine. Much more.’ (153) absorbed

Niska tells Xavier about both of their upbringings and hardships because she thinks and is willing to do whatever will “heal” Xavier. This displays Niska’s Cree culture and ways of life. Storytelling helps Xavier to hold onto his life when the morphine runs out.

Chapter 22 when Niska kills the two windigos in the town by strangling them. Xavier asks her why she killed them, maturity.

“When I was left free with my time, I travelled through the bush, hunting and stalking” (Boyden 131).

This shows how Niska is, by now, an exceptional hunter, as she spends all her time in the bush. Niska taught Xavier how to become a hunter and passes on all of her knowledge to him as he matures.

“My body hums with nephew’s pain and with the realization that he has come home only to die.” (p. 9)

“I can feel Auntie’s eyes on my actions, and I feel like a pathetic criminal under her gaze even though I know she does not judge me… “My body cries out for the medicine so loudly that I decide not to even try to hide what I do” ( Boyden, 177)

‘I am the second to last in a long time of windigo killers. There is still one more’ (Boyden 48).

This is one of the most important quotes throughout the novel. Boyden suggests that Niska was meant to be a windigo killer because she inherited it from her descendants. As well Boyden seems to highlight Niska’s series of epileptic episodes throughout the novel, which is linked with her powers passed on from her father. Niska is able to survive although stained emotionally, but physiologically as well. Niska learned to live with the windigo spirit and its pernicious influence despite all her hardships over the years. This is what makes her quite different compared to Elijah or Xavier. Niska survives, while Xavier and Elijah both die in the end. Niska proves that human consumption can, in fact, be overcome or not lead to death.

In the novel “Three Day Road,” Joseph Boyden’s continual use of the Windigo motif, illustrates Elijah’s obsession, Xavier’s addiction, and murder, as well as Niska’s culture and identity to reveal that human consumption if given in to takes a heavy toll on the body physically and emotionally.

Elijah readily smashes in Breech skull.

Losing culture also makes them go a little insane. Xavier really tries to hold onto the last bits of his culture and identity, but Elijah, on the other hand, tells everyone his name is Whiskeyjack, thus showing that he is not as bothered about being assimilated. As well, Elijah speaks in a accent to become more accepted in a way, and to gain the admiration of the fellow soldiers.

Elijah’s character progresses and develops for the worst by the end of the novel. Elijah has given into the Ojibwe spirit and was consumed by his addiction and constant bloodlust leading to his human consumption and late death.

All three of them can be assumed to have turned windigo by the end of the novel, therefore proving Boyden’s implication that human consumption is destructive in nature and therefore it can only generate negative effects through the spirit of the Windigo to influence characters in a bad way.


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