Niska’s Influence Throughout Xavier’s Life In Three Day Road

1566 words - 7 pages

During your life, many people influence you in different ways, shaping who you become, for good or for bad. Some people influence you so much that they change your life entirely. Niska is one of these people for Xavier in the book Three Day Road. She completely changes his life through her influence and teaching. In Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden, Niska influences and supports Xavier through his childhood, through the war, and in the aftermath, and without her, Xavier would have been a much darker and more evil person.
Xavier, a native Canadian, is the main character of the story. His mother gave him up to a residential school at a very young age, and the nuns there treated him harshly. His mother was in no condition to take him back, so his aunt, Niska, who lived in the bush, decided to rescue him from the residential school when he was around five. She successfully recued him, and he lived with her in the bush, near Moose Factory. During the summer, a boy he knew at the residential school, Elijah, came to live with Niska and Xavier, and Elijah and Xavier became like brothers. As Xavier and Elijah got older, their friendship persevered. When they were older, World War I started, and they decided to enlist together. They went to the war together and became a sniper team. Elijah achieved many kills, but as the war went on, this killing consumed him. Eventually his sole purpose was to kill more Germans. He became addicted to morphine, and began scalping the Germans that he killed. Eventually, this drove Elijah crazy, and Xavier is forced to kill him. After Xavier kills Elijah, a shell hits him, and has his leg amputated. Xavier wakes up in the hospital, and becomes addicted to the morphine that the doctors give him for the pain. Once he recovers enough from his amputation to travel, he goes back to Canada, and meets Niska at the train station. Niska takes Xavier on a three-day canoe ride back to where she lives, where she hopes he can recover from the war.
Niska positively supported and influenced Xavier through his early life, despite his dark experiences at the residential school. Niska rescued Xavier from the residential school at the young age of four or five. Throughout the rest of his childhood, she supported and taught him the best she could, even though Xavier’s own mother could not. Because of all the support Niska gave him, Xavier learned to trust her. One day Xavier became lost in the bush. He was comforted by the thought that “Auntie would pick up your tracks and find you” (Boyden 153). This shows that Xavier trusts his aunt, and knows that she will take care of him. This is a stark contrast to how Xavier felt about the nuns at the school. “First she forced me to bend over and struck me until I cried out in pain. She continued the switching until I fell over in a ball, tears falling in the dirt” (Boyden 153). Niska rescued Xavier from this, saving him from the other trials he would have experienced there. Niska provided Xavier with...

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