The Pay Back of Restoration: Justice in Ben Mikaelsen’s Touching Spirit Bear

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With the authority to discipline, our society has the ability to influence the future. Although, punishment is used to human savagery , it can also be used to exert power. The act of consigning punishment is extensively documented in literature. Such is the topic in Ben Mikaelsen’s novel, Touching Spirit Bear. Cole Matthews proves that the power to punish is often misused, resulting in detrimental side effects for society. Thankfully, Cole’s most recent crime is judged using the Native American tradition known as Circle Justice. Due to the process’ restorative approach, Cole is allocated a punishment, which allows him to peruse a path towards redemption. As demonstrated by Cole’s transformation in Ben Mikaelsen’s Touching Spirit Bear, justice provides redemption as illustrated through setting, symbolism, and characterization, which proves society should refrain from allocating justice solely based on punishment. Firstly, In Ben Mikaelsen’s Touching Spirit Bear, justice provides redemption as illustrated through setting, which proves society should refrain from allocating justice solely based on punishment. Justice awards a penance to an offender, which in a way equalizes the errors y made by the guilty party. The process of Circle Justice, awards Cole with a banishment sentence as a means of remedying the problems his actions have generated.He is given a year long banishement senthence as a punishment for severely injuring a fellow classmate named Peter Driscal. Had he served his punishment elsewhere, his current state would be drastically altered. In the traditional court system, it is highly probable that Cole would have been awarded a lengthy prison sentence. Unfortunately, prison further decreases a detainee’s ability to eve... ... middle of paper ... ...sent in the justice system. Through comparison, Miakaelsen proves that healing must be a sector of concentration in justice, if society aims to retrograde the complications created by a crime. As a result of punishment being a fixation in justice, legislation is directly contributing to detriment of our society. By remaining focused on punishment, our governance is failing to erase the taint crime inflicts upon our nescient society. As citizens, we must manifest together to demonstrate our support for justice which focuses on restoration, rather than retribution. Otherwise, with solely punitive measures in place, this cycle of lawlessness will remain incessant. Is this reality of harsh discipline still acceptable if there is no obvious benefit from these methods? Works Cited Mikaelsen, Ben Touching Spirit Bear. New York: HarperCollins Publishers Inc., 2001. Print

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