Questions and Topics For Discussion
is the story of an adventurer who takes to the high seas. It is also the story of a writer. As the narrative’s protagonist Rutherford Calhoun explains, “Only the hours I spent hunched over the skipper’s logbook kept me steady…Then, as our days aboard the Juno
wore on, I came to it with a different, stranger compulsion—a need to transcribe and thereby transfigure all we had experienced, and somehow through all this I found a way to make my peace with the recent past by turning it into Word” (pp. 189-90)
- Consider the role of storytelling in the novel. How do the stories recorded by Rutherford Calhoun enable him to make sense of his experiences, and thus perhaps aid him in coping with the many moral and other challenges he faces?
- Consider the role of storytelling in your own life. What stories are important to you? And how do these stories help you cope with and make sense of your experiences?
- The quotation cited above expresses a positive function of storytelling. Are there also examples in the novel of characters who have fallen victim to false stories, either their own or those of others?
- The term metafiction refers to fictional works that call attention to their own making, breaking the illusion that the