Joseph Boyden's Turtle Island

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In Turtle Island, Joseph Boyden tells a coming of age story of an 11-year-old, aboriginal, nameless protagonist who grows up in a dysfunctional family. The narrative is through the eyes of the main character in which he is immersed in the lifestyle of a gangster while his mother is away to deal with her drug addiction. Consequently, his 19-year-old aunt takes care of him and his little brother, Francis, who’s “retarded pet turtle” (Boyden 1) called Island is pivotal to the plot. When the main character steals Island on his way to a drug deal, the story reaches its climax directly after he sees the police at his client’s house and realized that the turtle is unconscious. In a moment of clarity, he goes to the police in hope that they can help…show more content…
His ego is inflated throughout the beginning as he refers to himself as a “one hundred percent gangster” (Boyden 1) and “Indian Posse” (Boyden 1) but it seems to end when he whispers to Island “Wake up, little friend” (Boyden 3) in desperation for him to be alive. Boyden’s most prominent use of imagery in this story is that of a beautiful flower growing, representing maturity. When the main character meets one of the gang members he describes them as “one of those beautiful plants… the ones that they film growing up in fast motion” (Boyden 2) This moment is crucial as it is when the main character begins to review his perspective around his lifestyle choices. At the conclusion of the story, the protagonist explains feeling “like a high-speed camera filming a flower unfurling in the light”(Boyden 3) which uses symbolism to compare a growing flower to the growth in the main character’s personality as well as his maturity in the end. The description of a high-speed camera implies that the main character feels as if his whole life was passing by him very quickly as well as showing the consequences of unprepared choices in his

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