Thomas King’s book “Medicine River”, is about a man named Will, who no
matter what he does, he feels his connections are not he wants when he lived in Toronto,
that is, until he goes back home to Medicine River for his mother’s funeral. This is where
he meets Harlen Bigbear, a blunt and straight-forward kind of guy who becomes one of
Will’s best friends. I feel Harlen is a big reason why Will comes back to Medicine River.
As much as Will and James, who is Will’s brother, had a mother growing up, I feel Will
finally has a sense of family when he goes back to Medicine River. A day out with
everyone in town seems to make Will a part of their own. Will is in an intimate friendship
with Louise Heavyman and plays the father figure to her infant daughter, South Wing.
Harlen, I feel is a big part of Will coming back to Medicine River, Harlen was
kind of aggressive on his approach to getting to know Will. Harlen tried to get to know
Will. Harlen tried to spice up Medicine River, comparing it to Toronto. He even said that
there were no Indian photographers, stating there was no competition for an Indian
photographer. Harlen also said that it would be a good idea to “start [Will’s] own
business” (King 90). I feel that if Harlen did not suggest he try, Will probably would have
stayed in Toronto. Harlen did everything he could to bring everything Indian back home.