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The following is a discussion question from the publisher for the January 2015 book of the month, "The Snow Child" by Eowyn Ivey
. Please do not read this topic until you have finished the book because this topic may contain spoilers
The first time Garrett sees Faina in person is when he spies her killing a wild swan. What is the significance of this scene?
I believe these played two crucial roles. Firstly, it established Faina as more real by being seen by someone other than Jack or Mabel. Secondly, it was the first step in their love affair. What do you think?
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He was shocked that a 'girl' was capable of killing such a majestic-looking creature. It was almost funny to me when I was reading this part. His feelings were all tangled up at seeing her that first time.
I was so happy that someone else FINALLY saw Faina besides Jack & Mabel!
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I wasn't too shocked since I realized she must have killed animals before to survive. I was happy as well that someone else finally saw her, since I started to think she was a fata morgana...
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Does anyone else think that considering the fairytale layer to this there is any link to 'The Swan Princess'?
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HMJones wrote:Does anyone else think that considering the fairytale layer to this there is any link to 'The Swan Princess'?
I thought of that too. But, it's a pretty tenuous link because the Swan Princess had all those brothers and the Snow Child is so alone, and seems destined to stay that way. The Swab Princess also has a much happier ending.
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I agree; that scene was the first time Faina is seen as a 'real' girl. It was also when she seems like a fierce, independent grown up rather than the lost little child of Jack and Mabel.
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When Garrett witnesses Faina killing the swan he is mesmerized. He is in admiration of this wild creature as well as jealous of her. Does this scene foreshadow Faina's future? I wonder if Faina could be compared to the swan; beautiful and wild, snared and ultimately smothered to death? Too far?
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I felt relief that okay, she is real, not just a figment of Mabel and Jack's imagination. It also made her look strong and capable, up to this point she just seemed to float along and things just worked out for her with little effort.
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The significance is multi-faceted. The most obvious aspect is that Faina is a real girl not just imagined. Then we see that the strong capable young man also has a vulnerable side to him. Faina affects Garrett in a way that no one else has ever been capable of. She even at this point seems more capable than him with the way she tackles the business of dispatching the swan. Then her conscientious manner in which she takes care of the hide and meat of the swan shows a careful side to her.
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It was a huge relief that Jack and Mabel weren't hallucinating or anything and that Faina's actually real.
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Not only does this scene make it clear that Faina is indeed a real person, it shows that she is more proficient with wilderness living than Garrett is. This is likely the source of his initial resentment of her.
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Faina killing the swan was such a significant moment in the book. It was proof that she was not a phantom fueled by the imagination of Jack and Mabel, since she could be seen by others. It was also the beginning of the relationship between Faina and Garrett.
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I think Faina's killing of the swan represented her venture into this more 'human' world. She obviously knew Garrett was watching her. Faina was just as taken by Garrett and he was with her. The use of the swan feathers at the wedding solidified that point to me. It showed that she had more grit than was revealed previously in the book.
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I agree that this was the scene that made me see Faina as more human than mystical. This was also the point at which I knew that Garrett and Faina would become romantically involved, mainly because he was the first person to see her other than Mable and Jack, and he seemed so drawn to her, even in his frustration.
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I felt it also showed him that he was wrong about women, he thought a girl wouldn't be able to survive in the wild. When he finally sees her he realizes that he was wrong about her being made up, and when he sees her kill the swan he learns that she is more than capable of fending for herself.