The gorilla presents a serious, tough, and dangerous facade. It does this to hide its insecurities and protect what it cares most about. Its fierce appearance and deafening roar intimidate predators and keep its kin safe. From first impressions, the gorilla does not seem to show affection to anything, but upon close inspection, you can see the gorilla’s intense love for its young. These characteristics mirror Garvey’s rugged machismo and strong personality early on in the novel.
The rhino is a bold, and confident creature. Its beastly nature incites fear in its foes, with its horn held high. While it appears reasonable and conservative, the rhinoceros is known for its bouts of rage and for having a dominant essence. Garvey reflects the behavior of the rhino in how he treated Cole and dealt with Cole’s actions in the emergence of their relationship with each other. If it were not for Garvey’s rhino-like-fearlessness at the beginning of the novel, Cole may not have developed to be the same character he became towards the end of the story.
In contrast to the previous animals mentioned, the meerkat is not tough and is not bold. Instead, the meerkat is a frisky, innocent, and social critter. The meerkat is somewhat intelligent and understands the importance of relying on and cooperating with its pack. Its lighthearted personality is expressed through playful interactions with other meerkats. Garvey reveals a more easygoing side of himself while he dances the dance of the Spirit Bear in chapter twenty and playfully scares Edwin and Cole.
The hippo is enduring, compassionate, and knowing. It is enduring in times of difficulty and struggle, just as Garvey demonstrates grit when he is called to the island to chaperone Peter and Cole. The hippo is compassionate, like how Garvey shows his empathy for Peter on the island. Lastly, the hippopotamus is knowing and patient. Garvey displays this hippo-like-attitude as he watches over the boys on the island. A Saint Bernard is a calm, composed, quiet canine, with a keen eye. Its tranquil presence and watchfulness leave those around it with an ingrained sense of stillness. The loyal Saint Bernard is pleasant and good to those it interacts with. Near the end of the story, the author hints that Garvey’s decision to help Peter and Cole on the island nourishes Garvey’s soul and heal past spiritual wounds of his own. Garvey’s selfless deeds act as guidance for Peter and Cole while allowing him to progress on his own journey.
Finally, as one of the most eccentric terrestrial animals to walk the earth, the moose stands as a symbol of elegance. It is reserved, tolerant, and slow to anger. The moose avoids violence but when it has no choice but to force its hand, the moose exhibits exceptional power and prowess. The moose represents Garey’s entire being throughout the length of the novel. The moose fails by no margin to echo Garvey’s stoicism and to foreshadow Garvey’s foreseeable future on his spiritual path to peace.
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