In the beginning of TSB, Cole did not care about anyone's feeling and would beat anyone up. Ben Mikaelsen states "Cole cornered Peter outside in the parking lot. With anger that had been brewing all day, he attacked him and started hitting him hard in the face with his bare fists" (pg.8). After the fight Cole at the detention center, "I wouldn't even be here if Peter Driscal had known how to fight back" (pg.9).
During the middle part of the book Cole is on the island and you can see that he is trying to change how he acts, but he can't get out of old habits or how he was raised. On page 98 Cole states that he wanted to live after the Spirit Bear had attacked him. In Cole's mind he was thinking about everything that he's done to people, and he didn't want to be known like that. It's sad that it took him to get hurt to change his personality.
"Cole after he got attacked by the Spirit Bear"
In the end of the book Cole's attitude and perspective are totally different on life. Cole finally notices that he was only treating people the way he was because he didn't like when people weren't scared of him. Cole states " I'll never hurt anyone again, that's a promise" (pg.271).
Cole also decided to create a totem pole with everything that he's learned to control, or something that's gotten him to act better. Some of the carving's included a circle, eagle, wolf, beaver, and a seal. He carved mostly animals because these animals taught him wisdom and honesty. Cole's character development was the most significant thing that happened in Touching Spirit Bear. To me this story was really about how someone could change if you gave them a fair chance, and that's what Cole got. Cole persevered through all the challenges he had at the end of the book with people not trusting him or believing him, he earned everybody's trust back and got a chance to start over on life. Touching Spirit Bear is a great example of character development.