Other Side of the Bridge

Topics: First Nations, Indigenous Australians, Indigenous peoples Pages: 3 (942 words) Published: November 4, 2013
The novel The Other Side of the Bridge by Mary Lawson delves into the coming of age of a boy named Ian as he experiences the trials of the transition from adolescence into adulthood. The boy from the small Northern Ontario town of Struan interacts with a variety characters in the secluded, tight-knit community, with the most prominent of them being his childhood friend Pete. Their relationship is primarily centered around the pair’s passion for fishing and nature itself, where it is gradually revealed that Pete’s persona embodies the common perception of Aboriginal attitude and behaviour, albeit in a loose and figurative manner. The secluded setting of Struan, coupled with the isolated state of the Objibway reserve, stand to leave an indelible mark upon the subdued, collected personality of Pete. Thus Pete’s personality reflects the values of The First Nations through his passive disposition, emphasis on tradition, and specific set of priorities Despite the relatively close proximity between the town settlement and the reserve, there seems to be a distinguishing isolation which holds a certain prevalence among most Aboriginal peoples. This element of isolation among the general population of indigenous peoples in North America has a pronounced effect which is continued through the passiveness of Pete. When Ian, Pete and most of their classmates head down to the shore to celebrate the completion of their exams, Pete shows his reclusive nature, as the author says, “Pete was there to start with but he kept to the fringes, as he tended to do in groups. He wandered off soon after they got out of the water.” (101) First Nations Peoples in the past were always subjected to a certain degree of isolation from the rest of North American society, and this state of separation seems to have an effect upon Pete’s behaviour. As a result, Pete spends the majority of his free time fishing. Pete’s fondness of the waters can best be described by his fishing companion, as Lawson...
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