14. We haven't talked about Jake's fall yet, when he was showing off and Arthur was tired of Jake's foolishness. Then IT happened, the defining event of their lives:
"Art!" -- his voice a shriek -- "I'm going to fall.""Good," Arthur said. A word that would haunt him for the rest of his life.He felt Jake fall. Felt his weight leave the bridge. Just like that.What did you think of the two when you read that? Arthur later blames himself and always, always feels guilty. Should he feel guilty? Later, Arthur is confused that Jake doesn't tell their parents what Arthur had said. Why do you think Jake didn't tell?
Given Jake's past behavior and that even in this incident, he was clowning around rather than helping Arthur I think his fall served him right and I can certainly understand Arthur's comment, "Good!" Having someone get what they deserve (whether good or bad) seems justified. However, I can understand Arthur's feeling of guilt. Even though I have now finished the book, I don't understand why Jake didn't tell. Perhaps he realized that he was at fault so was just glad that Arthur rescued him (the latter in the version he told Laura) or perhaps he did want to have this in his arsenel of weapons to use against others.
15. After the casts came off, Jake had a limp. Why do you suppose Mary Lawson gave her character a limp? In the biblical story of Jacob and Esau, Jacob (the younger) has a limp after wrestling with an angel (or a man) on the night before meeting his brother 20 years after having cheated him out of their father's blessing. Do you think Mary Lawson had that story in mind when she was writing about Jacob and Arthur? Jake, of course, used that limp to his advantage.
I suspect that Lawson did have the story of the Biblical Jacob/Jake in mind when she gave Jake his limp.
16. Arthur was still in the eleventh grade at age 19, and a friend said to him:
"Why don't you just stop goin', Art? She can't make you. You're bigger'n she is." Arthur thought about it. Imagined himself standing in the kitchen, saying, "I ain't goin', Mum. That's all there is to it. I just ain't goin'." But he could never get the picture to come clear. He had never defied her and guessed he never would. (p. 107)What did you think about Arthur at this age? What would you have wanted to say to him, if you were his friend? What would you have done in his place?
I agree with Arthur's friend that the misery of going to school exceeded its value. It is unfortunate that school learning is such a struggle for some students. This school system apparently did not pass students along in the system which may or may not have its merits. I think that Arthur was probably too much concerned about pleasing his Mom and should have had the confidence needed to rebel against those things which were important to him. Her goal for an education for him is positive, but I didn't think it was very realistic since school was such a struggle for him. I hated school, but didn't have the learning difficulty Arthur struggled with and the thought never seriously entered my mind of not going to school.
17. When Arthur was rejected by the army because his feet were flat, his mother said he'd be "free to carry on with his education." His father said, "If he can't fight, he has to farm." And Arthur thought, "Freedom. Nineteen years old, flat-footed and riddled with guilt, but free at last." (All quotes are from p. 114, hardback edition.) "Free at last" reminded me of Martin Luther King's speech, but in what way was Arthur now free? What did this feeling of freedom mean for Arthur?
I think the main freedom for Arthur was not having to be belittled each day like he was at school for not suceeding in academics. When farming, he was able to be successful and not stuck all day in the classroom.
18. Ian often seems angry or frustrated, but I could relate to the way he felt one day:
Ian cycled home, anger and frustration gnawing at him. He wished he could withdraw from everything -- go and live in a cave. He couldn't imagine how mankind had managed to make such a mess of things. (p. 131)I (Bonnie) almost laughed because I remember when my children were small I had a half-way joke I'd tell people: "I intend to have a nervous breakdown, just as soon as I find the time." Has anyone else ever felt this way?
There are times that I do prefer to be alone. At work, I like taking my breaks without my coworkers just to get away. I think it is good to have a balance between alone time and time with other people (especially friends and family).
19. And here's how Cathy made Ian feel:
She was so enthusiastic, that was the problem. Her enthusiasm wore him out.Has that ever happened to you?
YES! One of my coworkers is quite the Pollyanna enthusiastic type. At first, it was refreshing as our team tended to be rather quiet and drab. However, it does become wearing after awhile. Someone from another team commented that she wondered how long it would last as she remembers feeling that upbeat and enthusiastic when she first started working in our office. Fortunately, this upbeat coworker is bright and does care about others instead of being as self-centered as Cathy seemed to be. However, in part of her energetic enthusiasm, this coworker is in the cubicle next to me also has superb hearing and listens in to my telephone conversations which can be irritating. When the coroner called with questions and later results about my son's death, I really resented having her near so left the building and talked to him on my cell phone.
20. The fellow who was charged in the fight which caused the death of the logger was arrested, and Ian wondered,
"What'll happen to him?""He'll be shipped down to the district jail in Haileybury. I think he's going on Monday. They've got a presiding judge there."So many place names are made up by an author that I usually just make a mental note and skim over them, but this line stopped me in my tracks ... because someone from Haileybury, Ontario, Canada visited the blog this week! If you are still around, tell us a little about the area. If any of you Book Buddies are familiar with Struan or Haileybury or any other part of the book's setting, tell us about it, please.
The author's note is that Straun is fictional. However, the descriptions of the places all seem so real I feel that I have visited them.
Another message board I am on made reference this week to the poor health care under in Ireland and Canada. Since the current health care misery in the United States, I am more curious about the experience of others in countries that have more universal coverage than the United States has.