Three Day’s On the Rainy River-Archetypes

Character archetypes play a massive role in two particular pieces of literature I read this semester in my 12U English class. A short story, “On the Rainy River” by Tim O’Brien, and a novel, Three Day Road, by Joseph Boyden. I thought I’d compare the archetypal growth, between some of the characters, and just archetypes in general that makes these readings significant.

After considering some of the other options to compare Three Day Road with, I decided to settle with “On the Rainy River” because there is more similarities than I thought before really looking into each text. I’d like to start off by comparing Niska and the old man who takes O’Brien in, Elroy Berdahl. Both of these characters play significant roles as motherly figures in their texts. Both Xavier and Tim O’Brien rely heavily on these characters. While telling the story of being drafted into the war, O’Brien describes the Berdahl, “The man who opened the door that day is the hero of my life. How do I say this without sounding sappy? Blurt it out—the man saved me. He offered exactly what I needed, without questions, without any words at all. He took me in. He was there at the critical time—a silent, watchful presence” (O’Brien). Berdahl provides a place for O’Brien to stay, and also provided him a direct way out of the crisis O’Brien was in, boating directly to the coast of Canada. Berdahl shows maternal charateristics in how, “The man’s self-control was amazing. He never pried. He never put me in a position that required lies or denials (O’Brien), and even provides O’Brien with, “… four fifties and a two-word note that said EMERGENCY FUND. The man knew” (O’Brien). Much alike, Niska takes Xavier in, teaching him how to survive, which keeps him alive at war, heals him through stories, and saves his life. Niska purifies him in a ceremony around a fire with rocks, inside a matatosowinseeing, “Nephew is chased by something horrible, even in here. …The pain that Nephew has carried inside of himself for so long is leaving his body and swirling around in this place. … with the squeal of stone splitting in half from the heat, the presence is gone” (Boyden 379-380). Both characters display similarities in how they provide immense care for the protagonists when they are in need.

A presence being removed by a ceremony in the matatosowin, allowing for purification.


Two other characters in these texts that can be contrasted are Xavier and Tim O’Brien. Both of these characters exhibit heroic qualities, but there is a difference.

Xavier stands behind his beliefs throughout the entire novel, even through adversity.

When Tim O’Brien is faced with the pressure society places on him he notes, “I was a coward. I went to the war (O’Brien). O’Brien would have fulfilled the hero archetype if he had followed his belief that he has a right to not fight in the war, but instead, he does what others expect of him. By always doing what is ethically right to him, I think Xavier completely fulfills the hero archetype. When his best friend, Elijah, turns windigoXavier knows to what he believes is right, and kills his lifelong friend, despite being very difficult. When Xavier is asked by the lieutenant to kill a bird, “Elijah reaches for a broom in the corner, hands it to me, points to the nest. I refuse to take the broom, glare back” (Boyden 258). To Elijah, killing the bird is easily done and not significant. Xavier will not kill the bird because it is ethically wrong. He always does what he believes is right, despite what others expect of him.

Hero archetype “Superman”

These two texts also share significant archetypal symbols. The river (water) in Three Day Road, and “On the rainy River” represents rebirth, and allows Xavier and Tim O’Brien to be resurrected. While paddling in the canoe with Niska, it is seen that, ““What happened over there has wrecked him. … [The needles] are a part of what is killing him. But something far worse is consuming Xavier from the inside. It’s this that I must figure out how to remove. …This is a sickness I’ve not had to face before”(Boyden 34). Xavier takes the three day road on the river before becoming purified in the matatosowin, getting forgiveness and understanding from Elijah for killing him. The river in “On the Rainy River” gives O’Brien the perfect chance to escape all of his issues by swimming for the Canadian border, “I did try. It just wasn’t possible (O’Brien). The river causes O’Brien to decide, “And right then I submitted. I would go to the war … That was the sad thing. And so I sat in the bow of the boat and cried. It was loud now. Loud, hard crying. Elroy Berdahl remained quiet. He kept fishing. He worked his line with the tips of his fingers, patiently, squinting out at his red and white bobber on the Rainy River” (O’Brien). O’Brien becomes reborn, as the river leads him to change his decision and fight in the war.

River/water representing rebirth/resurrection

Comparing these two texts has helped me understand each of them deeper. Comparing things like the motherly figures, or the purpose of the rivers allowed me to find things in these texts I wouldn’t have noticed otherwise. I discovered why the rivers are so remarkable in these texts, and some of the traits that make each character fall under a specific archetype. These texts have more in common than I originally thought.








ENG4UV-01 Final Blog Post-Portfolio Planning

The semester is done already?? When did November happen?

It’s that time of year again. Exams and final assignments are right around the corner. For our grade 12U English class, our culminating task is to create a portfolio which includes an essay, and three additional writing/media. The portfolio will be used to display some of the things we learned about our chosen books when a particular literary theory has been applied.

The book I chose to read this semester was “Three Day Road” by Joseph Boyden. For my portfolio, I have decided to write a persuasive essay, a blog post, do a podcast, and a concept map to display some of the things I learned when analyzing “Three Day Road” through the archetypal theory. The thesis I will base my writing and media on is, “After analyzing “Three Day Road” from the archetypal lens, it becomes clear that the character archetypes further develop as a result of the experiences they go through. Their archetypes demonstrate how each character is affected differently.”

My persuasive essay will be outlining specifically the change the characters in my novel have gone through, and the outcomes they face as a result of the archetypes they have individually.

For my blog post, I will outline how the character’s archetypes have developed throughout the novel. I will use evidence from the text to clearly show the difference in Niska, Xavier, and Elijah’s archetypes at the beginning of the novel compared to the end. In “On the Rainy River”, archetypes also play a role in the characters and how they end up. In my blog, I’ll compare  some of the similarities and differences between some of the characters in “Three Day Road” with those in “On the Rainy River”. Blogging is an effective way to communicate this information because it allows for an informal, conversational way to convey my ideas about “Three Day Road”. I enjoy writing blog posts because I find it easier to put down my thoughts in a blog exactly how I think them , without worrying as much about being formal, or how to properly structure. I also like how blogging enables me to add my own personal touch to my writing, such as humor or images.

Office desk with notebook computer and wording Blog.Top View table from above with copy space

When considering the other media options available, I hesitated when first reading podcast. I’ve never actually done one myself. The factor that lead me to decide on using the podcast in my portfolio was remembering the Serial podcast on Adnan Syed’s case. I found that listening to a podcast made it very easy to interpret the information given to me, and ultimately come to conclusions. I feel as though my podcast will allow me to clearly communicate the points I am trying to make, and provide another way for the audience to take in my information. I think it will also be easier for me to verbally communicate my information, as opposed to writing it down, and it might be easier for auditory learners to absorb and understand what I am trying to prove. With that being said, my podcast will be outlining the specific archetypal traits some of the characters in ‘Three Day Road” share with those in the “Serial” podcast.podcast

My last form for my portfolio will be a concept map. For my concept map, I will organize and connect other media and works from English this semester, as well as others I have experienced. This will bring out connections between different characters archetypes, and their outcomes. Did they live? Did they die? Did they get to where they wanted to go?Concept maps are very effective because they provide a great visual to the reader, which will display information in a clear, organized manner. I think this will be more appealing to visual learners, but it will be easy for others to understand and take information from as well.

This semester in English has taught me many valuable writing/media skills that I wouldn’t have developed without taking this course. I feel as though I have significantly expanded my horizons by doing things I have never done before. Doing a remix, listening to podcasts, writing blogs, etc, are all skills I have developed through this semester of English. One of the most valuable skills I think I have improved on is writing. Through all of the blogs, essays, poems, and any other forms of writing I have completed this semester, I feel I have become much stronger in being able to develop ideas and put them onto paper effectively. I have also learned to bring out my own voice, and be unique in my writing through the many blogs I have written. Blogs allow me to be able to write like myself, having an informal structure. I have grown to enjoy writing blogs, and I feel much more comfortable writing in other forms as well because of this semester of English. I also feel I have become stronger in analyzing different texts at a deeper level. This was improved this semester by looking at different poems, stories, Shakespeare, etc, and applying many different literary theories to them.skills

I will have some challenges when working on my portfolio. Since I have never personally made  a podcast, I fell this will be my biggest challenge. I think I will get used to the podcast after I get past the fact that I have never done one, and focus on speaking as if I am having a conversation with someone about my novel. Another challenge I will face through this portfolio is modifying my thesis slightly for each work, still making sure it is strong enough to prove the point I am trying to make using each different type of writing/media.challenges

Three Day Road and the Most Effective Theory

After analyzing ‘Three Day Road” through three different literary theories, I found that archetypal theory provided me the most insight.

The archetypes in this novel stayed consistent throughout the novel, and were always relevant to what was happening. Elijah’s character is further developed as the trickster, and this is evident by noting the difference between Elijah pre-war, and Elijah towards the end of the war. Although Elijah’s personality and trickster-like attributes stayed the same from beginning to end, his actions become more severe by the end. Before the war, Niska describes Elijah, “And how he liked to talk! For hours he could talk about anything, the stars, the rivers, the school, the people that he knew, the places he didn’t know, far across the ocean” (Boyden 267). Elijah uses his talkative personality to deceive others from what he really is, always telling others how great he is as a soldier. I think that the war changes Elijah to the point that Xavier sees he is a different person, and can no longer tolerate or support what he does. “The look in Elijah’s eyes is frightening. I can only believe that the war has made my friend this way” (Boyden 305). In the novel Elijah becomes so hungry to kill and be acknowledged as a good sniper and soldier that he slices scalps off of who he kills to show the others. Elijah has essentially become windigo, because he turns killing into a pleasure. When confronted by a lieutenant about the removal of enemy scalps, Elijah shows he has gone mad. “Elijah raises the wood in both hands and swings it down hard as he can onto Grey Eye’s forehead. […] “We have no other choice,” Elijah answers. “I do not want to spend the rest of my life in one of their prisons.” He swings the wood again and again,  battering the little man’s head until the life has left him. “We’ve got to get the lieutenant to a medic,” I say. “Are you kidding?” Elijah answers. “The little prick knows everything.” He crawls over and finds Breech, turns his head to just the right angle and begins smashing it with the wood. Elijah feels wonderful solving the last problem to confront him. I can see it” (Boyden 340). Elijah realizes he is different, “”I know I’ve done horrible things here,” Elijah says. “I know that you think I have gone mad.” He pauses. “Sometimes I feel like I was mad too[…]”” (Boyden 341). Elijah’s trickster archetype elevates him to this point, causing him to become something he was not before. Elijah reminds me of Walter White from the show “Breaking Bad“because both these characters change negatively throughout. Elijah begins as a Cree who live in the woods, and ends as morphine addict who has gone mad, and enjoys to kill. Walter White begins as a high school chemistry teacher, discovers he has terminal cancer, and ends by cooking crystal meth and killing others.

Trickster/fox archetype

Xavier’s archetype as the hero is also expanded on as the story progresses. As Xavier is faced with more adversity, he never fails to do what he believes is right even if it is very difficult. This is the characteristic that makes Xavier so heroic. Xavier notices what the war has done to his friend, Elijah, and does what he can to help him. This is apparent in how Xavier knows Elijah’s morphine addiction is harmful, and does not support his use. I think Xavier’s most heroic action in the novel is when he kills his friend Elijah because of what he has become. Xavier has been passed the skill of killing windigo from Niska, and when Xavier realizes Elijah has become a windigo his instincts take over, and he kills Elijah. Through the fight, Xavier thinks of his aunt, “Elijah’s hands reach for my throat. He squeezes it hard, and the words from that letter come back to me then, Niska, do what you have to” (Boyden 369). As Xavier presses his rifle across Elijah’s throat, “”You have gone mad. There’s no coming back from where you’ve travelled.” I press down harder. Elijah’s eyes shine with tears. His face grows a dark red. He tries to whisper words to me but I know that I cannot allow Elijah to speak them. I must finish this. I have become what you are, Niska” (Boyden 370). This is a very significant quotation because it shows that Xavier is able to do difficult things like kill his best friend, who he grew up with and fought aside in the war. Xavier knows he needs to kill Elijah because he is a windigo, and he is to kill windigo, just like Niska and her father.

Niska’ archetype as the motherly figure/mentor is also elaborated on and important in the novel. Xavier learns valuable skills from Niska which are key to the novel. The most obvious of these is the ability to kill windigo, which is what Xavier is forced to do to his friend. Niska also shows she is the motherly figure in how she purifies him in a ceremony around a fire with rocks, inside a tent/sweat lodge. Niska pours water onto the hot rocks so steam rises, and they pray. “Nephew is chased by something horrible, even in here. And it threatens to take me to. […] The pain that Nephew has carried inside of himself for so long is leaving his body and swirling around in this place. […] with the squeal of stone splitting in half from the heat, the presence is gone” (Boyden 379-380). This quotation shows how Niska is able to heal Xavier of his pain that makes his life so difficult, that she couldn’t figure out when he first returned. The fact that Niska is able to heal Xavier shows she is a great motherly figure. Niska also teaches Xavier so much that he needs, such as how to kill windigo, which give her the qualities of a mentor. Niska reminds me of my mom because their main concerns are for others (their children) and they are both relentless in making sure they are healthy.

The archetypal theory provides the most insight to the text because they provide an in-depth analysis of the characters. This theory allows the reader to find vital information to significant parts of the novel that other theories don’t show.

Women in Three Day Road and How They Impact Others- Feminist Theory

After reading Three Day Road, I learned a lot  about the different ways women can be viewed in literature.

One of the main characters in this novel, Niska, is a woman who is very significant to the novel. From Xavier’s point of view, Niska is the ultimate family member, taking on the mother, father, and even friend role. Without Niska, Xavier would not be there person he was when he went to the war. He would have been underdeveloped with the fundamental skills of survival (hunting, trapping, fishing, hiding, making shelter, etc). “I had taught you all about the physical life of the bush, and it was time to teach you about  the other life” (Boyden 264).

Niska had a terrible experience with being at the residential schools. The Nun’s were abusive, unfair, and cruel to Niska as a child. Niska knew that her sister, Rabbit, had a son in the residential school, and did not want him having the experience she once had. Based on appearance and attitude, Niska recognized her blood in a group of children. Niska decided to give the child the option of leaving the residential school with her. Without hesitation he decided to leave. When the boy was being ordered around by the Nun in the canoe, “[…] I let out a great wail, the wail of years of hurting, so that the old nun stood, then stumbled and rolled out of the boat and into the water. I slipped out of the willows in my canoe, and in the English I remembered said to her, “You paddle home.” I took my paddle and clipped her sharply on the head for emphasis. […] I motioned for you, and you jumped in my canoe”. (Boyden 219). This quotation not only represents how Niska saves Xavier from the residential school, but also how much Niska cares for Xavier. She is telling Xavier this story to keep him alive, distracted, a d even makes him smile which is rare because of the way he is as a result of the war. Xavier has so much appreciation for Niska and what she does for him. This is especially evident in one of Xavier’s near death experiences at war when he thinks of her, “[…] my watchful aunt protecting me. You, Niska. I don’t know why I think of you now as bullets zing by my head so close that they whisper to me. One cuts through my coat and I can feel my side burning. I think I have been shot but the pain is almost absent, just an annoying bite. I begin to mouth you name over and over, like a protection against the bullets. Niska, I whisper as I run up the hill and approach a stretch of barbed wire. Niska. Niska. Niska. Niska. Niska” ( Boyden 237).  This quotation displays how valuable Niska is to Xavier.

Unhappy children at a residential school in Ontario


Niska is also viewed as wise and knowledgeable, and is the source of advice and direction throughout the novel. Niska’a father left her information and traditions that allowed her to help others and also to survive. “He was an old hunter who was known to be one of the last of the great trappers. […] he also knew that I was my father’s daughter and had inherited his gift. He explained that his clan was hungry and had bad luck finding meat. He wanted me to divine for him, had brought a moose’s shoulder blade along with him from his part of the country. […] I had a gift that others wanted and needed” (Boyden 166). Niska executes the job, telling an experienced hunter where he will be able to find meat to feed his clan. Normally her father, a male would have done this. As a woman, Niska is demonstrating that she can fulfill her father’s role just as well as he did. Niska is also recruited to kill a windigo, which is a canible who has gone mad. “I reached under hsi neck and placed the rope around it, wrapping both ends around the stick. All I had to do now was  twist the stick around and around until the rope tightened and cut his breath off. I started to whisper a prayer to Gitchi Manitou and began twisting the stick with each sentence of my prayer” (Boyden 263).

As a powerful and independent woman, Niska also comes across challenges. She comes across a Frenchman who she begins a sexual relationship with, and despite her mother telling her it’s dangerous, she continues. The Frenchman takes her to a church in the town, “It is a holy place. A place to talk to the Father” (Boyden 173). Niska believes the man and follows him in, contradictory to her original thought of not wanting to enter. The Frenchman deceives her, saying, “This is where a man takes a woman to be his forever” (Boyden 173). Niska falls for his lies and following their sexual interaction “He laughed. “I fucked you in a chruch,” he said, and smiled. I smiled back at him. “I fucked the heathen Indian out of you in this church,” he said, but this time the smile was not happy. “I took you ahcahk, your spirit. Do you understand that?” He stared down at me, his eyes wide with a look that made my stomach feel ill. […] “It’s too late,” he said. “You are nothing special, just another squaw whore. I took your power away in this place and sent it to burn in hell where it belongs.” Suddenly I felt my guts churn and only knew that I needed to be out of this place” (Boyden 174). The Frenchman does this to Niska because of how she left him to guide the old hunter when he asks for her assistance. Niska prays for purification, following this event, and is haunted by the Frenchman. Niska later hears the Frenchman committed suicide as a result of going mad and not being able to escape pursuing demons, and was not given a christian burial. This quotation shows Niska’s ability to overcome adversity as a female, and the power she had to reverse the effect of what the Frenchman did to her.

Another woman in the novel has a big impact on Xavier. Her name is Lissette. He sees her once at a town bar, and “When we return to the front lines I can’t take my mind off the girl. She smiled at me. I’m sure of it. I smoke cigarettes in my section of the trench, send prayers up that we remain in this place just a little while longer” (Boyden). When Xavier is forced to leave Saint-Eloi and Lissette, he is visibly upset. “I am silently unhappy for the whole ride, and it is obvious why, but Elijah knows enough to let me suffer. “The only cure is time,” he says to me, but I don’t answer” (Boyden 160). Lissette is also a representation of the power women have in this novel because she causes a river of emotion through Xavier, a character who shows very little to others in the span of the novel.

Saint-Eloi, World War I

Woman play a very significant role in this novel. Without them, I don’t believe Xavier and Elijah could have easily been killed many times. They learned to work together in poor conditions, and things like silence or being still which is key to their success and survival in the war and in the woods. The women in this novel show how they can use their power, and the effect it will have on others.

Three day Road- Archetypes

After reading the second third of Three Day Road, I found that a lot was expanded on. In my opinion, the character archetypes are obvious.

In this novel, Elijah is the trickster. His last name, Weesageechak, is also representative of this. “Whiskeyjack is how they say his name, make it their own. […] Weesageechak is the trickster, the one who takes different forms at will. Hudson’s Bay Company traders could never pronounce it with their thick tongues. But they saw the trickster in the whiskeyjack, the grey jay that loves to hear his own voice, is bold enough to steal food from their hands when they were not watching” (Boyden 154). Elijah being the trickster is apparent in many ways Elijah acts., as well. Often, Elijah acts different than what he actually is. He talks a lot to the other soldiers about his sniping skills and the amount of Germans he has killed. Elijah also tells jokes to the others, and even uses a British accent to stand out. This is all completely different than how Xavier remembers him. “None of them know that I am the one who taught Elijah what he knows about hunting” (Boyden 100). I think that part of the reason Elijah acts the way he does is to cope with the harsh reality of war. Elijah and the other soldier’s lives are always at risk, and war takes a toll on their bodies and minds. This is also evident in how Xavier says, “Elijah has killed more men already than I can count on both hands. It doesn’t seem to bother him. Me, I’ve killed no one that I could see yet, but I’ve helped Elijah. I don’t think it bothers me, but I won’t let myself think of it, just push it away whenever is appears” (Boyden 98). When Elijah is forced into using morphine due to injuries, his true self comes out, and it becomes visible that he has deceived the others of who he is.

Image of a fox (trickster archetype)

Niska possess two character archetypes. Niska acts as the motherly figure, and the mentor. This is evident through all of her stories, wisdom and care she provides for Xavier. It is obvious Xavier is wounded both mentally and physically as a result of the war, and Niska does all she can to keep him in good health. “What happened over there  has wrecked him. He thinks I don’t see him putting those needles in his arm. They are a part of what is killing him. But something far worse is consuming Xavier from the inside. It’s this that I must figure out how to remove. I wish it were a simple matter of finding the right root in the bush. This is a sickness I’ve not had to face before. I must figure out the right cure or I will lose him, and he’s the last of my family” (Boyden 34). This shows that Niska has the motherly instinct of that Xavier’s sickness is not only physical. Niska, as the mother archetype, know’s she needs find a solution to cure Xavier. Niska is the also seen is the mentor because she is view that way by many others. Niska’s father passed along information and traditions that give her the ability to help others. “He was an old hunter who was known to be one of the last of the great trappers. […] he also knew that I was my father’s daughter and had inherited his gift. He explained that his clan was hungry and had bad luck finding meat. He wanted me to divine for him, had brought a moose’s shoulder blade along with him from his part of the country. […] I had a gift that others wanted and needed” (Boyden 166). Following, Niska  tells the hunter where he will find food for him and his clan. Niska shows she is wise enough to provide life-saving advice to great trappers.

Xavier, in my opinion is the hero of the novel. Throughout the novel, he always stands behind his morals and what he believes, and I think that is a very heroic quality. Contradictory to Elijah, Xavier keeps his Cree background and knowledge to help get him through the war. Prior to the war, Xavier only killed when he had to for survival. Throughout the war, it is evident that is is not easy for Xavier to pull the trigger on other human, but understands it is for the better. Xavier demonstrates his morals and heroic instincts many times. When the horses break their legs in the ship, Xavier knows to kill them without approval from anyone, because he didn’t want the horses to struggle. “I suggest we commend him for the valour. […] He exhibits the best traits of an officer. the ability of judgement under duress, the will and strength to carry out unpleasant and dangerous duties, decisiveness” (Boyden 190). I also admire how Xavier sticks to his Cree traditions through the war, and holds away from conforming to the wemistikoshiw way of life, unlike Elijah. Yesterday I watched a play, Cinderella, that was put on by my school. Xavier reminds me of Cinderella because she stands up for her belief to be equal to her stepsisters, goes to the ball, and wins the Prince. This is similar to Xavier proving to the others that he is a skilled shooter in how he is able to light the match with his bullet before anyone else, including Elijah. I think Xavier does this to show others who he really is, and that he doesn’t need to put on the image of something bigger than what he is to show his skill.

Superman logo (Hero archetype)

There are also a few symbols that I found represent relevant things in the novel. The colour black acts as a symbol of chaos, mystery, the unknown, death, evil, etc. Black was the colour smeared on the soldiers faces when travelling to the German side at night.

Another symbol is the number 3. The number three represents unity. “It seems to me that everything these wemistikishiw do is in threes. They are obsessed by that number. The front line, the support line and the reserve line is just the beginning of it. Their work parties are split into groups of three, and they are ordered to count off accordingly. Soldier one is at sentry while soldier two and soldier three work. They’ve even divided their army into three sections, the infantry, the artillery and the cavalry. And these three sections are put through the same three rituals of training, then combat, then recovery” (Boyden 244-245). This quotation goes on about the number three. All of the white people seem united by the war, as they should be, fighting together for their lives everyday. Three in Three Day Road represents their unity.

Three Day-Reader’s Response

Three Day Road has been a very interesting read to this point. The novel begins when Niska, a Cree Indian learns her nephew, Xavier is coming back from the war. Xavier Bird is wounded and addicted to morphine.

There are three main characters in this novel. Niska, Elija, and Xavier.

Xavier is the one of the only members of her family that Niska has left.

I view Niska as a strong, independent Cree who is very wise and caring. Niska is very much like the mother/father figure in this novel. I view Xavier and Elija as very similar in appearance; Long, brown, knotty hair (before the war, short shaved hair and small heads), a skinny, tall build, and large observing eyes. Their personalities seem to be different. Xavier is very quiet, shy, keeps to himself, and is humble. Elija, in opposition, is talkative, outgoing, comedic, and is not afraid to speak his mind. The difference in their personalities leads to some conflict at times in the novel.

A visual of what I think Niska, Xavier, and Elija look like before the war. (

Elijah is Xavier’s best friend, and they go through pretty much everything together in the war, based on what Xavier says. Xavier and Elijah remind me of my twin brother and myself. Both Xavier and Elijah and my brother and I experience so much together, and much of what we learn is from each other respectively. They also have a very strong, brother-like relationship, showing they always want to protect one another, and they work well together. At time my brother and I have also found each other a bit jealous of each other, although we still want the best. Jealousy made my brother and I compete harder against each other to be better than the other at whatever it was we were doing. Many times in the novel, Xavier gets jealous of Elijah and how “The others in the battalion have begun to treat Elijah like he is something more than them. I walk beside him or behind him along the trenches between stretches out hunting, and very few seem to notice me at all. […] None of them know that I am the one who taught  Elijah what he knows about hunting” (Boyden 100). I think the jealousy leads Xavier to do try to prove himself harder, such as sniping the best German sniper, or showing he is the most accurate shooter by lighting a match with his bullet, while Elijah and other couldn’t.

I predict that Elijah and Xavier will be separated later on in the novel. Xavier often wonders about Elijah when with Niska. Also, I think that Xavier will become injured as a result of him and Elijah being separated, since Elijah and Xavier works so careful and well together. I think Xavier will develop his addiction to morphine because he is injured, and has to cope with him and Elijah being separated.

I think the author intended this book for an open audience because there are aspects of life that many people can relate to such as war, friendship, addiction, living on the land, etc. Prejudice is something present in the novel that is still, present today. When Niska goes into the town to find the Frenchman she has met, the wemistikishiw (White people) judge her. “My clothing was in the old style, a style that only a few of the elders still knew how to make, most of it from the hides of animals. […]My body was smaller than the others’, having rarely been able to feed itself to full. […’Parents called their children when I came close. […] Young men pointed to me and stared when they thought I was not looking” (Boyden 168). This quotation displays prejudice occurring based on Niska’s thin build, her different clothing, and Native background. People nowadays still make pre-judgement based on what other wear or where they are from. I feel sympathy for Niska at this point because the whole town was making her feel out of place.

I find that this novel is very intriguing, and there are many ways and perspectives the novel can be viewed from.

Adnan Syed-The Podcast, the Innocent, and the Guilty

When first listening to the Serial podcast, I often found my opinion changed many times throughout. At the beginning, I was convinced Adman had killed his girlfriend, Hae. Then, new information and views would change my perspective. Sarah Koenig, the narrator of this podcast shares the same issue I had, saying, “several times I have landed on a decision, I’ve made up my mind… And then inevitably I learn something I didn’t know before, and i’m upended” (Ep 12, 2.42). This case is very difficult to form my opinion on, but finally I have done it. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that everyone is innocent until proven guilty. After listening to the podcast, Serial, I found myself asking, “Was Adnan really proven guilty?”


That is the final conclusion I came to after listening the Serial podcast. Although Adnan might not exactly be innocent (I think he is), I still don’t believe there is enough evidence against him to prove him guilty, and I think there are others who should be considered as suspects just as evenly as Adnan.

There are many reasons I think Adnan is innocent. Some of them are based off of how I personally view the case, and some are facts about the case that simply shouldn’t be ignored. Although this has not actually been proven with surveillance, it should be noted that Asia McClain witnessed Adnan in the library at the time Hae Min Lee was being murdered. It is absolutely mind blowing to me to hear that this wasn’t brought up in Adnan’s trial. In one of Asia’s letters to Adnan, she even mentions there are cameras in the library, but they never actually got the video. I think that if these facts were mentioned in the trial, it would have significantly impacted Adnan’s case in his advantage, especially if surveillance of him was found.

Adnan himself also doesn’t sound like someone who is lying about what he knows of Hae Min Lee. When being interviewed, he sounds honest and sincere in what his version of the truth is, and he is one of the few people who truly know if he did or did not commit the crime. This is clear in the first episode of the Serial podcast when Adnan says, “I just sometimes wish like, they could like, look into my brain, and see how I really felt about it, and no matter would someone else would say, they would see… whatever the motivation is to kill someone, I had none… it didn’t exist in me” (Ep 1, 21.30). Adnan does not follow any of the lying patters that are mentioned in “6 Ways to Detect a Liar in Just Seconds”, an article by Phychology Today. Some of these include removing the spotlight from themselves, or changing the tone of their voice. To me, Adnan is completely truthful, and I believe him when he says he did not murder Hae Min Lee.

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Hae Min Lee and Adnan Syed together at Prom

In the final episode of the Serial podcast, a few things of significance are mentioned. Jim Trainum, a former homicide detective who is viewing this case said, “Most cases, sure, they have some ambiguity, but overall they’re fairly clear. This one is a mess. The holes are bigger than they should be” (Ep 1, 41.30). Other’s that viewed the case, lawyers, forensic psychologists said the same thing. If professionals said there are too many holes in this case, I don’t think enough was done to prove Adnan guilty.

Jay is someone who I grew more and more suspicious of as the podcast went on. When I learned in the final episode how inconsistent Jay was through his two interviews and the testimony, I was convinced he had a more significant role in the murder than he says he does. You would think details like time should be well known to someone like Jay, who says they helped bury Hae’s body, but they aren’t. Jay is also inconsistent with his times of where him and Adnan are, and where they actually were according to the cell phone records. Jay really should have consistency and know exact times on this day because it carried so much significance. 50.30″What do we know. Not, what do we think we know. What do we know. If the call log does not back up Jay’s story, if the Nisha call is no longer set in stone, then think about it, what do we got for that file? All we’re left with is, Jay knew where the car was. That’s it. And that all by itself, that is not a story… It’s not enough, to me, to send anyone to prison for life” (Ep 12, 50.29). Te only fact in this case pins Jay as guilty because he knows something about Hae’s dead body that nobody else has said they know. Based on all of the information provided by this podcast, Jay has to be guilty. If Jay is guilty, I truly believe Adnan Syed is innocent.

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Jay Wilds giving his testimony.

Sarah Koenig goes on to say as a juror, she would vote to acquit Adnan Syed because that’s what the law requires. She mentions that there are not enough facts to say Adnan is guilty. Based on what she and others know of Adnan; his personality, sincere voice, how he tries to hide the sound of him crying on the phone, and just how great of a person he is/was, he is not a murder. Adnan Syed is innocent, and I believe it too.

The Serial podcast has many benefits compared to other types of media. Being more of an auditory learner, I found it much easier to follow along with the podcast than I would’ve reading the same words. Listening to the podcast makes it simple to connecting to the characters in the podcast simple. It was very helpful to be able to hear the voices of the different people in the podcast, allowing me as a listener to see many more perspectives and come to my own conclusions based on what I hear. Hearing the voices of main people in this podcast like Adnan and Jay, I could listen to things like their tone, emotion, inflection, volume, steadiness, flow, and more, which allowed me to come to the conclusion that Adnan is innocent. I would much rather listen to a podcast than read an article or watch a video, because the podcast adds a whole other element. I can hear the characters, but also visualize and interpret the content in the way I choose to, rather than how another author may choose for me to view their type of media.


Works Cited

“6 Ways to Detect a Liar in Just Seconds.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers,

         –liar-in just- seconds.

“Season One.” Serial,