Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden: Psychological Perspective

Published: 2021-07-31 00:45:07
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The novel Three Day Road defines how the Indigenous lifestyle, identities and behavior were charged through the colonialism of the Europeans as well as their own cultural traditions. The setting is a factor to the characters actions and can alter their cultural moral values. Joseph Boyden demonstrates that when an individual is placed in a environment that’s diverges from their origin they must adapt which would result in them deviate from their own value while jeopardizing them in the process. This is especially seen through Elijah’s and Xavier’s adaptability towards the hardships of the war, as there emotions and thoughts were affected by the actions of others characters that were fighting along beside them in the war.
Xavier’ and Elijah’s experience on the war can distort the circumstances from what is morally right and what is not. Though indigenous people are taught to respect life of others, soldiers are people who can step out of that boundary as it is a necessity to kill on the battlefield, but it is possible to get caught up in the glory of those achievement. Elijah becomes a well known sniper with a many kills and starts to enjoy the recognition that comes with his achievements in killing so much that he is desensitised by killing. This is partially due to the fact that Elijah handles his identity by assimilating to the western culture, as his self identity is lost due to their influence. When Xavier bitterly question Elijah’s actions of killing a innocent women he mistook for an enemy he defended himself by saying “I am trained not to hesitate in situations of danger.”(Boyden 306) This made Xavier start to realize that Elijah has been corrupted from the war since he abandoned his cultural lifestyles and thrown away his identity to seek importance through the fame that comes with war. A war always negatively impacts an individual. When a person goes to war they do not come back the same, as these people have explored and grappled with the idea of death that came with engaging in a war and fighting for survival. No matter what their value about life is, they are forced to be given a weapon and kill if they want to live. As opposed to Elijah going against his culture, Xavier has valued it’s traditions of being a hunter and honoring life despite the act of killing others as a means to survival. According to Xavier for “those who aren’t collected we bury the best we’re able in the able to in the trench sides when they begin to swell and stink. I make sure to thank them that even in death they are still helping.” (Boyden 81) Xavier preserves his culture by thanking the dead for their support, he does this because Niska told him to pray as much as he can and he does this by praying to dead soldiers.
The main differences between these two characters is their ways of coping and internalizing with what they witness and experience in the war. Xavier praying to the dead keeps him in touch with his Native culture and he does not follow Elijah who takes in more of the western culture as he struggle to identify himself as a aboriginal due to western influence.

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