Questions and Topics for Discussion
1) Why do you think the author chose to tell the story from a third person omniscient point of view instead of using a first person narrator? How might your reading experience have been affected had it been told only through the eyes of Sam?
2) How do outside forces, like weather, seem to play upon what the main character may be feeling? In what ways does the physical world relate to what is happening in Sam's emotional landscape? Why does the author choose to develop this parallel between Sam and the world that surrounds him? What do we learn about him that we might not otherwise learn?
3) Sam's journal is a substantive part of this novel and becomes more and more important as the story moves on. In chapter thirteen, his journal entries make up nearly the entire chapter. In what ways is this journal almost like a character in and of itself? How does it help shape plot, and what kind of insights does it give us into Sam's loneliness and his love for his family? If the journal entries had been left out, how would this novel be different?
4) Talk about setting as it is presented in this novel. How does the serene, natural beauty of the farm highlight larger themes that the author may be trying to explore?
5) Kate and Carrie's concern for their father, and their desire to treat him like a child or an invalid, reaches an almost comic level at many points in this novel. All children worry about elderly parent