This discussion will take place in the 100 Wing conference room.
For all who have not contributed yet, all we have left to do is put at least 3 more passages with a small write-up about its significance!!!!!! It's at the bottom!
Katie Champlin
Alex Coroi
Lily Daggett
Joey Erving
Travis Hamre
Max Watson - Facilitator
Jeri Erickson

external image 275px-Outstealinghorses.jpg

1. Student Facilitator(s):
Max Watson

2. Protocols: Protocols are helpful to give everyone in the group the time and chance to speak. Use at least two protocols and customize them to fit your discussion.

Whip (Beginning):

Your reaction to the narrator?
Which was your least favorite scene?
Favorite scene/"moment in time?"
Most relatable character?

Whip (Middle):

What do you think about Petterson's writing style?
What do you make of the parenting Trond experiences? Why does he not mention his mother as much as his father?
What do you think of the relationship between Trond's father and Jon's mother?
Most traumatic event?

Whip (End):

Would you suggest this book to a friend?
Do you have any outstanding questions?
What do you think were the most contributing factors (throughout the novel) to Trond's state of mind in his later years?

Another Point of View:

Pick a passage you particularly liked or feel could be a good conversation starter. Could be any length.
Opinions? Do you (the others) like this passage? Why or why not?
What significance do you think this passage has to the book?
Did anyone else have this passage or any passage(s) that relate to it?

Ten Words or Less

Summarize the novel in ten words or less (on your own). You have three minutes to do so. We will get together afterwards and share our summaries. Do you agree or disagree with another person's summary? Why or why not? Any lingering comments? Is there anything you can add that others did not mention?

3. Discussion Questions:

  • Personal Response Questions -- These questions might address your personal reactions to the style and content of the novel and ask group members to share and compare.
Did the english translation syntax ever become a roadblock for understanding certain passages?
What did you like/dislike about Petterson's writing style?
Is there a character you related to most? Who was that character?

  • Open-ended, analytical questions -- These promote multiple perspectives and don’t yield a single answer. They address the WHY and HOW.
Does Trond want to live a life of solitude because of the traumatic events in his past or because he just wants to live a quiet life among nature?
Why does Trond not mention much about his life between childhood and old age other than a few references to his wives and children?
What do you think happened to Jon? Why does Lars not mention Jon at all?
Why does he end the story with a memory about his mother even though he rarely mentions his mother in the book?
Why does Trond appreciate the companionship of a dog more than a person (in his later years)?
How do you think Lars feels about Odd in his later years?
What do you think the significance of the title is (besides the event in which it occurs)?
What do you think is the significance of the name 'Jacob' that Trond's father gives to all the fish?
How do you think Trond feels about his father in his later years?
How does watching his father kiss Jon's mother change Trond's perception of things?
What is the relationship between Franz and Trond?
Do you think Lars knows about Trond's father and his mother?
  • Significant passage questions -- Observe, as you would in close reading, the qualities of the text and how the passage brings meaning to the novel overall.
Does this passage mean anything to you personally? ("you" being the person who chose the passage)

4. Culture & Context

What was Nazi occupied Norway like? Was it just as oppressed as all the other countries?

Wikipedia Article on Nazi-Occupied Norway

Norway and WWII

Was the Norwegian resistance during the war a wide-spread organization?

Wikipedia Article on Norwegian Resistance

Norwegian Resistance

Does Petterson have any connection to the events in Trond's life (in other words, can any parallels be drawn to Petterson's life and Trond's life)?
Per Petterson Biography
Has this book received general favorable reviews? What do major critics say about its impact?
New York Times Review
What impact do you think the translating of the book had on its meaning?

5. Pre-Discussion Processing

Trond: Main character of the story. Involved narrator who tells the story of his current life as an old man and the story of his past when he was a teenager during and after WWII. He wants to be alone in solitude for the reminder of his life in his cabin. His only companion for the entire novel is his dog Lyra. He has children and had multiple wives in his lifetime.

Jon: Jon is Trond's friend in the beginning of the story who loved to go on adventures. His favorite activity was hunting rabbits, but one day he left his gun loaded in the house where Lars shot and killed his twin brother. I significant moment is after the accident Trond and Jon go out stealing horses then go up a tree where they find a bird's nest. Jon crushes the eggs in his hands and lets them fall to the ground. After that Trond never hears from Jon again.

Lars: Jon's brother who shot his twin. Trond gets to know Lars when he meets him in the woods when they are old men. Lars has a dog named Poker who runs off once in awhile. Lars is one of the few human beings Trond interacts with in his old age. Lars helps out Trond by sawing some trees that fell in front of Trond's garage.

Trond's Father: Trond's role model who was the parent he spent time with during the event summer of 1948. They live in the cabin together and cut lumber to send down the river for money. They have a very relaxed relationship where they can work and joke around with each other.

Franz: Trond's Father's coworker who helped cut down the timber with them. He was very competitive with the Father.

Barkald: The neighbor/local farm owner. He owns the two horses that Jon and Trond steal and ride.

Ellen: Trond's daughter. She visits Trond in his old age.

The book is set in the backwoods of Norway near the Swedish border. When Trond narrates about his childhood it is during the 1940's, and when he narrates about his current life it is during the 1990's.

Important Plot Events:

1. Trond narrates about what he and Jon did after they went out stealing horses. They went up a tree where a bird’s nest was, and Jon crushed all the eggs. Trond was shocked by this, but he later learns that his brother shot and killed his twin brother on accident with his gun. Jon shows the bitter reality that he learned that day which was life is fragile. Trond talks about this events because it ties in with all the later deaths and losses he suffers throughout his life, but the events with Jon were the first time he realized that life is fragile. The day of stealing horses was his first steps of maturity.

2. In his old age, Trond talks about when he realizes that his new acquaintance Lars was Jon's brother who shot his twin brother. Having Lars around in his current life is important because it stimulates more memories before 1948 that reveal to the reader more facts about Trond's life.

3. The great ending of Trond's dramatic summer of 1948 ends with his father and him send the timber down the river to be sold. Trond recalls how his father almost looked truly happy and proud of him after Trond did a maneuver that unjammed the logs in the river. Trond and his father went through some tough times during the summer of 1948, but their last moment of the summer is finally a moment of triumph. He has finally reached a level of mutual respect with his father.

Conflicts: The big conflict throughout the book is Trond trying to comprehend all the events that happened in his life. He tries to reflect on his life in order to reach a state of satisfaction. The conflict that already happened in his childhood is trying to get through all the tough moments that happened to him and his friends.

Narration: Trond is the narrator. He is an involved narrator who is describing many stories of his past that he reflects on in his old age. This makes the book interesting because the reader always knows Trond's thoughts and feelings. The disadvantage is sometimes details about other characters are lacking and the reader has to infer the importance of certain characters in Trond's viewpoint. Because Trond is in control of the narration, he can have the book be any point in time instead of in order of events. The reader has to piece together Trond's past based on his stream of consciousness.

Important Passages:

  1. “Or that is the way I remember it, and I could not recall anything ever making me so desperate. I looked up at Jon again, and he had already bent forward, and with on hand he tore the nest free of the spilt in the branches, held it out at arm’s length and crushed it to powder between his fingers only a few centimeters from my eyes” (Petterson 33). Trond narrates about what he and Jon did after they went out stealing horses. They went up a tree where a bird’s nest was, and Jon crushed all the eggs. Trond was shocked by this, but he later learns that his brother shot and killed his twin brother on accident with his gun. Jon shows the bitter reality that he learned that day which was life is fragile. Trond talks about this events because it ties in with all the later deaths and losses he suffers throughout his life, but the events with Jon were the first time he realized that life is fragile. The day of stealing horses was his first steps of maturity.
  2. "But finally Lars takes a big gulp of his beer, wipes his mouth on the napkin before laying his hands in his lap, and then he clears his throat and says: 'I know who you are.'...maybe Lars lay awake and alone in his bed trying to keep hold of his world, while the shot whose trajectory he could not possible grasp still filled each cubic meter of air in the small house until he could not hear anything but that shot when people talked to him not matter what they said, and it was the only thing he would hear for a long, long time" (103). This is the first moment of the book when his past from the 1940's connects with his current self. Lars is the reminder that stimulates more memories that Trond begins to reveal after that point. Lars is also the first human he interacts with at the cabin in a long time.
  3. "Yet again she was on her way upriver to visit the man from Oslo who lived in the cabin there. Every time something was wrong she had to go there, every time something important was in the offing she had to go there, and now she had a trembling halfwit in the boat who was probably from the same town, and it was the middle of the day with a harsh light on the snow, and he threw a last glance over the yard and made a choice he would some to regret, and them he closed the doos and went into the living room and sat down there"(149). This is the only passage where much of anything is said about Jon's father and his feelings towards the relation ship between Trond's father and Jon's mother. Another interesting thing is that this passage is not told from a point of view that Trond could have witnessed or been told about, it is more storylike and less memoir of the narrator.
  4. "But that's life. That's what you learn from; when things happen. Especially at your age. You just have to take it in and remember to think afterwards and forget and never grow better." (105-106) This is spoken by Trond's father in response to the summer of 1948 and all its events. He was teaching Trond a life lesson, which can be seen being applied later in his life. Trond learns to forget the past and move on, although the way he does so is strange. He attempts to isolate himself from everything that may remind him of his bitter childhood.
  5. "All my life I have longed to be alone in a place like this. Even when everything was going well, as it often did. I can say that much. That it often did. I have been lucky. But even then, for instance in the middle of an embrace and someone whispering words in my ear I wanted to hear, I could suddenly get a longing to be in a place where there was only silence. Years might go by and I did not think about it, but that does not mean that I did not long to be there. And now I am here, and it is almost exactly as I had imagined it." (7) This is towards the beginning of the novel, when Trond is narrating about his isolated life in the countryside. He speaks about how he has "always" wanted to live somewhere isolated, which shows that his father's speech ["but that's life"] had an impact on him when he was a child.