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Literary Analysis of Three Day Road by Robert Boyden

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In Three Day Road by Robert Boyden there are plenty of examples of effective language and form that contribute to creating an intriguing novel. Boyden effectively shows how Cree life was in the early 1900’s both in Canada and at war in Europe.

In the novel, Boyden uses literary devices that demonstrate what type of world the characters are living in and how they will react to their surroundings. One example is the use of foreshadowing. Foreshadowing is used to present the type of work cousins Elijah and Xavier will do when at war and the type of people they will become. In the first chapter they manage to successfully capture and kill a marten. Xavier describes, “Elijah swings again, and again the marten squeals. My stomach feels sick”. This is an example of foreshadowing because Xavier is uncomfortable with killing while Elijah does not have the same reluctance. Once the marten is killed Elijah states: “We are great hunters”. This also foreshadows how skilled at stalking and killing they will be when they become soldiers in the war. Both of these examples of foreshadowing connect to events later in the novel. Elijah ends up being the more eager killer and even scalps his victims, while Xavier feels more remorse for killing. The pair also became two of the most successful marksman in the war and were often chosen to act as scouts or to lead raids on the enemy.

Boyden also effectively uses a simile to show how the use of morphine makes Xavier feel. Xavier says, “I watch my body shiver in the cold rain. The morphine is very good, though, a warm blanket that wraps around me like a moose robe”. This simile shows that when Xavier uses the morphine he feels very comfortable. He hasn’t felt the warmth of a moose robe in a very long time so the morphine gives him sensations of feeling at home and back in a place he feels comfortable.

Boyden also used form effectively with the use of flashbacks. The flashbacks are used to reveal the evolution of Xavier, Elijah, and Xavier’s aunt Niska throughout the novel. The flashbacks demonstrate the similarties between discrimination that Niska faced at home from the wemistikoshiw (White men) to the discrimination Xavier and Elijah faced in the war – despite being very skilled soldiers. The flashbacks help the reader by tying in the stories of all three characters to create one combined storyline and theme. The flashbacks also symbolize how Xavier and Niska are both eager to return to their peaceful Cree way of life; as they have both been discriminated against and had their lives torn apart by the white man.

Three Day Road and the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling share the same theme of friendships tested by jealousy. In Three Day Road, Xavier and Elijah’s friendship starts when they are children. When they go to war together is when their friendship starts to be tested as jealousy sets in. Xavier grows jealous when he feels Elijah is being praised and treated better even though Xavier feels he is an equally good soldier, if not better. Similarly, in the Harry Potter series Harry and Ron were best friends since they met when they were children. As the series progresses, Ron grows frustrated with Harry’s special status while Ron is seen as just the average friend of Harry. Ron often feels overlooked and unloved living alongside Harry’s fame. This dynamic takes a toll on their relationship and creates distrust between them.

For example, in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry is selected to compete in a wizarding tournament, even though Harry swears that he did not enter the tournament. Ron is so consumed by his jealousy of Harry that he doesn’t believe this. Ron’s disbelief ultimately causes a rift between these two friends.

In conclusion, the theme of jealousy can teach readers a lot: it shows how certain situations can create a heavy strain on friendships no matter how long they have lasted. This is important because many people fall victim to jealousy of one of their friends. This may end up costing them what could have been a great person to have alongside them. So people should try to overcome any jealousy by being happy with who they are, and also proud of their accomplishments. 

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Literary Analysis Of Three Day Road By Robert Boyden. (2021, August 06). GradesFixer. Retrieved October 16, 2021, from
“Literary Analysis Of Three Day Road By Robert Boyden.” GradesFixer, 06 Aug. 2021,
Literary Analysis Of Three Day Road By Robert Boyden. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 16 Oct. 2021].
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