How does Mabel's sense of the land change during the story?

Discuss the January 2015 book of the month. The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey.
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Scott
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How does Mabel's sense of the land change during the story?

Post by Scott » 12 Jan 2015, 22:17

The following is a discussion question from the publisher for the January 2015 book of the month, "The Snow Child" by Eowyn Ivey.

When Mabel first arrives in Alaska, it seems a bleak and lonely place to her. Does her sense of the land change over time? If so, how?

I think it is clear she comes to appreciate the enjoyment of homesteading and relying oneself in the wilderness. An interesting aspect of that is the way her view of Alaska mirrors her own changing feelings in general and happiness changes. What do you think?
"That virtue we appreciate is as much ours as another's. We see so much only as we possess." - Henry David Thoreau

"Non ignara mali miseris succurrere disco." Virgil, The Aeneid

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Post by gali » 13 Jan 2015, 07:32

After she started working in the fields, she appreciated and enjoyed the place better. Before that she was too depressed to take all in and the place reflected her mood. She was passive and watched life from the side lines in a manner of speaking. As she became more active and happier, so her view about the place changed.
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Post by HoneyB » 14 Jan 2015, 21:28

gali wrote:After she started working in the fields, she appreciated and enjoyed the place better. Before that she was too depressed to take it all in and the place reflected her mood. She was passive and watched life from the side lines in a manner of speaking. As she became more active and happier, so her view about the place changed.
Well said! I agree 100%.
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Post by KristineNicole » 19 Jan 2015, 18:55

After Faina came and after Mabel started spending time with Esther, she seemed happier to me. And the descriptions of what she was seeing became more vivid.

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Post by Miss_Jane2014 » 23 Jan 2015, 00:06

In the beginning Mabel was so depressed, and she truly was disconnected with the land. As the story progressed though, and she started to find herself, the way she was seeing the land was changing. To me it seemed like she came to appreciate, and love the land more as she left her bleak state behind.

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Post by Peaceplank1 » 25 Jan 2015, 03:48

As Mabel grew, so did her appreciation for the Alaskan wilderness. She not only discovered beauty within the landscape but within others and her self. To me, it is as though someone turned a light on in Mabel's life.

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Post by Kappy » 16 Feb 2015, 15:31

Mabel appears to be satisfied with the wilderness only in the epilogue. But I'm not sure she has really adapted; what she truly enjoys is being in charge of Little Jack's upbringing. Otherwise, she would have found reasons to constantly whine, as she did previously.
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Post by Jenie » 19 Feb 2015, 00:54

The land reflected Mabel's mood. She was depressed and unhappy, but as she became more active in the fields, her sense of land changed. She became happier and she saw the land with new eyes. The land became her home and she began to appreciate it more.
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Post by easedlak » 10 Apr 2015, 05:47

I think it took Jack's injury for her to the language of the land more fluently. Esther definitely contributed to it: she was Mabel's example of how life can succeed in the context of wilderness. She was emotional support, she was practical support, but she also stood apart as a guidepost. Once Mabel had a reason to learn the how of the land, and had a guidepost to help her navigate, her whole sense of the land seemed to change.

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Post by L_Therese » 20 May 2015, 07:05

I think Faina's love of the outdoors influenced Mabel's perception of the land. As she grew to love Faina more, I think she also learned to love that which Faina loved - the woods, the snow, and everything in them.

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Post by Taylor Razzani » 04 Jul 2016, 18:06

I agree that her depression was mirrored back in the landscape and when Faina comes into her life some of that depression lifts and she is more open to the good things about Alaska. Plus, the harsh winters were made more bearable when she knew Faina would be coming back, so the winter blues couldn't really dampen her spirits anymore.

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