Prejudice has been present in almost every civilization and society, especially in the past. Because of all the gruesome, horrible and unfortunate event that emerged from hate crimes, racism and its effects are some of the most popular themes that have been translated into literature. So it is no surprise that Richard Wagamese’s famous literary work “Indian Horse”‘s central theme is about racism. Saul’s experience of verbal abuse when he played for The Moose as well as physical violence and racist actions when he played for the NHL lead to his alcoholism.
One of the reasons that lead Saul to become friend with alcohol is the verbal racism that himself and his teammate had to endure from the crowd, the opponent and even his own teammates. Every sentence, every mock that they threw at The Moose is full of hatred and scorn:” Injuns are s’posed to wear war paint, not make-up”(Wagamese 141). That contempt not only shown during the game but it also was seen by the way that those men at Devon who came all the way from the bar next door to the cafe that Saul and his teammates were in just to said: “We don’t eat with Indians” (Wagamese 133). It is clear that those men were willing to go out of their way to express the disrelish that they felt toward the Indians as if their presence in that coffee shop were a denouncement to them. Despite being treated as if he was not a human, despite his teammate suggestion to “hit the fuckers back” Saul did not fight back because his love for hockey outweighs those negative attitude toward him, also because hockey is his salvation, his way to escape the harsh reality and he wasn’t ready to give it up . Even though it may seem like the verbal racism did not bother Saul at all but when I got further into the book I started to realize that it affected him at a deeper level, like a shadow, it hovering in the darkest corner of his soul waiting for the right time to lurch out and break him into pieces, and that moment finally comes when he joined the Malboros team