Who Has Seen the Wind

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A Young Mind’s Curiosity about Life

The complexity of life might preoccupy one’s mind at any age when there is an underlying quest for personal growth and self discovery. Life on the Canadian prairie during the 1930s was filled with a sense of simplicity; truly appreciating the natural surroundings and resources available on the land. There was a recurrent theme to rely on oneself which made daily life difficult for many families on the prairie. Within W.O. Mitchell’s novel Who Has Seen the Wind, the protagonist, Brian O’Connal, tries to understand the meaning of life by thoroughly questioning the life cycle and relying on his inner sense for answers. Brian attempts to develop a clear definition for each stage by witnessing both the birth and death of numerous animals throughout his early childhood development. Through these experiences, Brian hopefully can face the ultimate shock in his life, his father’s death.

At an early age, Brian was interested in where living things came from. His first encounter with birth was when he and his friend, Forbsie, discovered baby pigeons hatching on Forbsie’s farm. “‘They came out of the eggs.’ Forbsie said.” (73). Brian had difficulty grasping this fact and asked his father to provide information on this matter.

“He pondered the question of their origin... “Dad” he said as he walked by his side, “I want to ask you about some pigeons. How did they get in there?” “Where, Spalpeen?”
“Those eggs. How did they get in there in the first place?’ “Well, at first there wasn’t any egg. The mother pigeon put the shell around it” “She built it?”
“Yes, she built it.” (73-74)

From this discussion, Brian began to express his curiosity and eagerness to gain knowledge about birth. Mr. O’Connal’s explanation left his son quite confused and uninformed about reproduction because Brian believed that humans and animals were created similarly. Asking these types of questions showed how Brian had a deep connection to his...
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