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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
Much of Jack and Mabel's sorrow comes from not having a family of their own, and yet they leave their extended family behind to move to Alaska. By the end of the novel, has their sense of family changed? Who would they consider a part of their family?
One of the great ironies in the story seems to be the way Jack and Mabel's loneliness and aloneness seems to contribute to their emotional and financial troubles, but yet they chose that as a form of a escape from the emotional crisis "back East". I recall at one point they were getting ready to leave Alaska. However, I think it's clear that after that they come to see Garett, Ester and the rest as their family. This is demonstrated by their choice to include a certain somebody in their will. 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
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I agree. Also, Mabel didn't get along with Jack's family and they from their end saw her as aloof. After Faina came to their life, Mabel's relationship with her sister improved. They indeed saw Ester and the rest as their own family and come to love Garrett as their own son.
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Yes, their sense of family changed. They changed!
Esther wasn't taking no for an answer (and it was the kick Mabel & Jack needed) and George and the boys, especially Garrett, became their family. Faina was cherished and loved as such even when Mable thought she had no parents and existed only as a fairy tale (before Jack told her about burying Faina's father).
A book is a device to ignite the imagination.
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Mabel and Jack's lives were so far removed from the lives their families were living back East. How could they possibly relate to each other anyone? Ada speaks of Mabel's life as an adventure worthy of turning into a book but this was the life Mabel was living, day in and day out. Jack and Mabel became different people resulting in their sense of family changing. Ester and George reacted to Jack and Mabel's misfortune with generosity, understanding and a 'let's get this sorted' kind of attitude. With friends like that, who needs family?
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Sometimes certain people can bring out something in other people that their family or old friends just couldn't. Mabel and Jack wanted an escape from their old life and the people that knew of their past. The Benson's and Faina didn't judge them for not having kids and were willing to help them survive when they were at their lowest. I feel like that would be enough to make them feel some sort of attachment to each other.