Indian Horse Informal Blogging

3 Ways Saul Indian Horse Could Have Escaped Residential School in the Novel Indian Horse

In the book Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese, we all felt terrible when our beloved main character, Saul, got shipped off to residential school.

Although Saul is treated horribly in this school, he never tries to escape! This is probably because he is only 8. But what if Saul was smarter than all of us? This would totally change the overall narrative and feel of the book, and make it feel like The Shawshank Redemption. Here are 3 ways he could have escaped.

1. Running Away

Now this is an obvious one, but I think 8 year old Saul couldn’t have done it without the self confidence that comes from an older age. In the book Benjamin was able to escape by running away and it actually worked, but I think It could have been done better.

The first thing Saul would need to do is study the priest and nuns habits. He would need to do this to be able to steal food and clothes without them knowing. Then he could leave in the dead of night with enough food and clothing to be able to stay well fed and warm.

2. Ganging up on the Priests

Now ganging up on the priests would be a hard feat to accomplish, but with the charismatic skills of a great leader Saul could rally up the troops and win the fight.

First, Saul would have to arrange secret meetings with the toughest looking Indian boys. There, he could encourage them with speeches, and when the time came, start the rebellion. It would have to happen so fast that the priests couldn’t see it coming and Saul’s bully boys would have to have enough moral to all attack at once and not back down. That way they would win. Saul could also try and make improvised weapons out of some of the hockey sticks to give to his team to give them a cutting edge.

3. Using His Powers

In the book, Saul has a sort of mystical power that allows him to see visions of the past and future. If he could tap into this earlier, It might make it so that he never gets to residential school.


If Saul could fully access this power, he would probably be able to manipulate so many events in the book. He could warn his family to hide him and Benjamin earlier when the Indian Agent comes to get Benjamin in the beginning of the book, he could help save countless other first nations people, he could come to represent all first nations people and with his power of seeing the future, he could make himself look all powerful and drive the colonizers out of North America. But this is way too convenient and powerful for the book to make any sense whatsoever.

To conclude, Saul could have escaped so many ways. He could just run away, gang up on the priests or use his all to convenient power of seeing the future, but should Wagamese written it this way? I think not, because If Saul escaped residential school, Wagamese wouldn’t have been able to show us how bad these schools really were, and it would make Saul a less dynamic and round character.

Imagery in Indian Horse

“I read once that there are holes in the universe that swallow all light, all bodies. St. Jeromes took all the light from my world.” (Wagamese, 43). In this quote, Wagamese is showing how strongly Saul feels pain and woe while reflecting on his experiences at St. Jeromes Residential School. Saul is remembering a time in his life where all his happiness, which “light” symbolizes, was taken away as if a black hole was absorbing everything. The imagery paints a picture of a very miserable and menacing place that has no “light”. A place where Saul’s life, uncontrollably, took a bad turn, and now is being pulled in with no escape. You can also imagine Saul telling you this because Wagamese doesn’t compare St. Jeromes directly to a black hole. Instead, he writes “I read once that there are holes in the universe that swallow all light, all bodies.” This gives you the picture of Saul making his own imagery by connecting what he read in a book to his experience at the school.