Three Day Road: Important quotes with page
1. “I get closer and see that he has stuck something into his arm, something he pulls out just as he looks up and sees me. ” (p. 7) This is the first indication that Xavier is not only suffering from pain but also a morphine addict, which is highlighted by his guilty look on being seen injecting himself with the drug.
2. “My body hums with nephew’s pain and with the realization that he has come home only to die. ” (p. 9) Niska’s relief to find that her nephew is not dead, as she has thought for some time, is complicated by the realization that he is in so much pain that he has come home only to die.
3. “Their morphine eats men. It has fed on me for the last months, and when it is all gone I will be the one to starve to death. I will not be able to live without it. ” (p. 10) Morphine is viewed as an animal that eats away at men. Ironically, Xavier will starve to death when the morphine is gone. This highlights how powerful his addiction is.
4. “So long has Elijah been around that he is like a part of my own body. ” (p. 11) This quote reinforces the concept that Xavier and Elijah are like brothers. They are very close, and know each other’s thoughts and actions, at least before the war.
5. “I see how Elijah’s eyes glow, how he is feeding off the fear and madness of this place. He makes a good soldier. ” (p. 25) Though most soldiers detest fighting and the conditions of war, Elijah seems to come into his own around fighting and death, which foreshadows his descent into madness and his eventual fate.
6. “It is real. All of this is suddenly very real. The other side wants to kill me, and I’ve never even seen their faces. ” (p. 31) Xavier finally sees war up close and realizes that death can come without seeing the hunter.He has trained all his life to hunt his prey, and now he is being hunted.
7. “Elijah, him, he lives for what the day will bring. ” (p. 49) Elijah’s glee during a wildfire is indicative of his restless nature, and foreshadows his rash behavior on the battlefield.
8. “The danger of the fire so close seems to do something to Elijah that I am not sure I like. ” (p. 48) This is one of Xavier’s first glimpses of a different side of Elijah than the one he knows, and the difference is disheartening. Elijah seems to like danger, which foreshadows his eventual love of war.
9. “I will protect him.It is what I do, what I have always tried to do. ” (p. 53) Xavier has always tried to steer Elijah in the right direction and vows to continue to do so, highlighting his resolve. It is a promise that will be tested when they go to war.
10. “I can see that Elijah knows exactly what Thompson’s asking. Thompson is asking if Elijah likes killing. Elijah considers it for a moment. ‘It’s in my blood,’ he finally says. ” (p. 69) Elijah distances himself from Xavier here by saying that killing is a part of who he is. Xavier dislikes killing, but Elijah revels in it, which is troubling to Xavier.
11. “Elijah’s like a shadow when he wants to be, lying flat and breathing silent so that he becomes the ground. I know that I am a good hider, a good worker, a good shot. We will both be very good over there. But Elijah, all he wants is that place. This war will make him into something. ” (p. 93) Even Xavier can tell that the circumstances of war are favorable for Elijah’s talents. The battlefield seems to highlight his hunting skills.
12. “Whiskeyjack is the trickster, the one who takes different forms at will. ” (p. 143) This quote highlights Elijah’s nature.The white men pronounce Elijah’s last name as “Whiskeyjack,” and Elijah takes on the bird’s qualities over the course of the novel.
13. ‘“I don’t’, the man says. ‘I was dreaming. There was a flock of whiskeyjacks’. He looked confused. ‘They were pecking at something dead. ’” (p. 151) This quote foreshadows Elijah’s role in war. He is the Whiskeyjack, killing on the battlefield. It also suggests eating flesh, creating a connection between Elijah and windigos.
14. “Elijah, he says the spark fills his belly when it gnaws for food. ” (p. 184)This quote further suggests that Elijah is feeding off the soldiers who die. The morphine does not allow him to eat, but he feeds from the death all around him, like a windigo.
15. “But when the golden liquid is in his veins! Even at night the world is bathed in a soft light … He can make himself float from his body at will and look down at the world below him—the world that man has created—and still see the beauty in it. ” (p. 195) This quote suggests the appeal morphine holds for Elijah, even in the midst of war, morphine allows him to see the beauty of things that man has created.Given that Cree culture places such a high value on the natural world, this quote also suggests that Elijah’s addiction is a means of disavowing his identity as an Indian.
16. “My enemy might not understand this when I send him on the three-day road, but maybe he will on the day that I finally meet him again. ” (p. 207) This quote shows a vast difference in perceptions of death. Most soldiers do not think much of the men they kill. Xavier, however, knows that many of these men will be seen again in the afterlife, once he himself is dead.
17. ‘“Do what you can,’ they all tell him.‘There is nothing sacred any more in a place such as this. Don’t fight it. Do what you can. ’” (p. 261) Elijah’s vision of dead friends appears to confirm that war is not sacred, and that men must survive at all costs meaning all actions are forgivable. It can also be viewed as an excuse on Elijah’s part for his actions.
18. “Elijah is someone I no longer know. ” (p. 285) Xavier and Elijah used to be so close that they felt like they were attached, as if living in the same body. This is a complete reversal, with Xavier admitting that he has no idea who Elijah has become.
19. “I want to feel what Elijah feels. Maybe I will understand better then. ” (p. 298) Shockingly, Xavier is tempted to try morphine so that he can better understand his friend. He resists, but then nearly kills Elijah with the morphine, highlighting just how dangerous Xavier considers him to be.
20. “We all fight on two fronts, the one facing the enemy, the one facing what we do to the enemy. ” (p. 301) A telling quote that highlights how the battle rages both on the battlefields and within the soldiers, a battle of right and wrong, morality and reason.
21.“Sometimes I find myself hoping that Elijah will go too far, will be killed in action. I will be able to rest easier then …” (p. 320) This is a stark contrast to earlier in the novel when Xavier said he will always try to protect Elijah. It suggests that Elijah is beyond saving.
22. “What’s mad is them putting us in trenches to begin with. The madness is to tell us to kill and to award those who do it well. I only wish to survive. ” (p. 322) Elijah tries to justify his actions and says that he cannot be crazy when he is forced to do crazy things by others. War is the real madness, he says.His desire to survive, then, is rational.
23. ‘“I should have never gotten in that aeroplane. Before that I believed nothing could hurt me over here. But I lost something up there is what it feels like. I need to get it back. ’” (p. 322) Elijah finally admits that he feels a weakness and this realization drives him further into madness. It is also a traumatic break, as Elijah always wanted to fly, but when he does, his confidence is ruined by the experience.
24. “These last years since we left Mushkegowuk we’ve been on a river, and now the river has led to rapids.It’s too late for me to bail and get to shore. ” (p. 337) Xavier sees that he cannot change his or Elijah’s fate. The quote is symbolic in that it highlights how Xavier must deal with Elijah’s actions, regardless of the outcome.
25. “By tomorrow we’ll be home. ” (p. 351) The quote is suggestive, leaving the reader to interpret it. On the one hand, it might mean that Xavier has been freed from his morphine dependency and can now return home with Niska. On the other hand, it might suggest that Xavier is truly on the three-day road and, now that he has made his peace with Elijah’s spirit, can die.