10. Ian gets very irritated when anyone assumes he would, of course, become a doctor like his father and grandfather before him, as in the scene with Mr. Hardy:
"Am I right to assume I'm speaking to the next Dr. Christopherson?"Have you ever said something impulsively that you later regretted? How was it decided where you would go to school or what work you would do? Has irritation ever gotten you into trouble?
He had smiled and Ian had felt irritation rising up in him like a wave. "I've decided I'd like to study agriculture," he said. ...
"There's an excellent school of agriculture in Guelph. Would you like to apply to that?"
Ian's heart started to thump. Was this it, then? Had he just decided his future in a single spasm of irritation? (pp. 116, 117)
11. The scene where Ian helped his father work on the cut and profusely-bleeding logger was very powerful. Ian himself was shocked that the man died under his hands between one breath and the next, and his meditations took him here:
Good luck. Maybe that's all it was. Maybe the whole of life depended not on how hard you tried, how determined you were, how sensible, how smart: maybe the whole shooting match depended on luck. (p. 126)Is luck that important? Does determinations and hard work matter? Is the author saying being sensible or smart doesn't make much difference if your luck runs out?
12. And yet, in the same chapter, Ian knows there may be angry people on the reserve, but is enraged with Pete's tone after almost missing the final exam ... thus ruining his chance of getting a passport out of Struan:
"You have a choice, whether or not you let yourself get drawn into all that crap! It's history! Some people are stuck in it, but you have a choice!"The oppressed usually understand the situation quite differently from the oppressors, so Pete probably feels the tensions between his and Ian's communities more deeply. What do you think, does Pete have a choice? Does Ian just not get it? Is it luck to be born into one family or another? And how does that impact your life?
Pete, his eyes still closed, his face still turned to the sun, said, "You know what I like about you, man? You have such a simple view of life." (p. 130)
13. What happens when we assume everyone thinks the way we do? Can you think of an example?
NOTE: Those of you who are not reading the book may also jump in with your thoughts about luck, life, and assumptions. I hope you'll do that and let's all talk here.