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Rachel-K
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The Great Outdoors

 

What do you make of the fact that so far, we spend almost no time indoors? Even when Mary and Cobb make friends and visit a lodge for a small dinner party, they head back outside as soon as they possibly can. How does this play a part in their brand new relationship? Did it feel to you as if they were "playing house" while they visited?

 

Are any readers familiar with this river in real life?

 

How is the natural world a character in the story?

 

How does the river play a role in the novel so far?

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Amanda-Louise
Posts: 156
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: The Great Outdoors

Although I am not 'outdoorsy' I find that this book being set in the outdoors in the perfect thing at a time when I'm stuck in doors! It's cold and somewhat miserable here (can't remember the last time I saw the sun) and I love reading about the sun warming their bodies. When they were in the lodge, I felt as thought they were almost testing themselves as a new couple. The entire thing had been surreal and they were both wondering how it would be once they were off the river. I think that it gave them a glimpse of the relationship working once back in 'real' life. The natural world is a binding force through the story so far. It is what brings Mary and Cobb together and it's one of the things that brings the chungamunga girls together. The river certainly gives them a sample of the ups and downs of life and helps Cobb and Mary get to know each other. They are challenged by the river in a great way and find they can work together in difficult times, and the river is also calm, peaceful and serene at others. They find that through the ups and downs they can manage together. I think it's one reason the relationship works so quickly. They are challenged together within days and find out how each person deals with difficulties.
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Zia01
Posts: 187
Registered: ‎08-08-2009
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Re: The Great Outdoors

What do you make of the fact that so far, we spend almost no time indoors? Even when Mary and Cobb make friends and visit a lodge for a small dinner party, they head back outside as soon as they possibly can. How does this play a part in their brand new relationship? Did it feel to you as if they were "playing house" while they visited?

I think it's a fascinating part of the story so far and unique. I don't think I've read many books that the setting was the outdoors. I love it.

 

Are any readers familiar with this river in real life? Not at all. I want to be now though heh.

 

How is the natural world a character in the story? I think it's great. It add so much to this story.

 

 

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thewanderingjew
Posts: 2,247
Registered: ‎12-18-2007

Re: The Great Outdoors

I had the feeling that Mary and Cobb had the kind of relationship people dream about...it was kismet. They had so much in common. Rather than "playing house", I think they simply became part of their environment, comfortably. There didn't seem to be any of the awkwardness of initial meetings. They all fell, quite easily, into conversation with each other and worked together to set the stage for dinner.

I thought the author did an amazing job of creating a cozy, warm and casual atmosphere. You could feel how comfortably they all worked together. None of them put on airs. It felt as if it was the most natural thing for all of them to share an evening. They didn't feel like strangers, but when you think of it, they were all basically strangers to each other. Mary and Cobb only knew each other for one day. Regarding natural, they all seemed to prefer the natural world and not the material one. They were as at home outdoors as I am indoors.

Neither Mary and Cobb or their hosts, were your typical social climbing couples of today, thinking only of how to get to the next rung of the ladder. They were happiest with the simple back to nature life, appreciating what was around them not what they could purchase to "put around them". When we learn of Mary's history, we get a glimpse into what might be motivating her behavior, yet fraught as her life is with an awful prospect, she doesn't pull anyone around her down into the abyss she may have to face. She is enjoying life to the fullest.

 


Rachel-K wrote:

 

What do you make of the fact that so far, we spend almost no time indoors? Even when Mary and Cobb make friends and visit a lodge for a small dinner party, they head back outside as soon as they possibly can. How does this play a part in their brand new relationship? Did it feel to you as if they were "playing house" while they visited?

 

 

 

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thewanderingjew
Posts: 2,247
Registered: ‎12-18-2007

Re: The Great Outdoors

 

I am not familiar with the river in this story, but we have all seen rivers ramble somewhere, if not in the flesh then on tv, in a movie, or read about them in a book.

To me the river, as a character, represents life, with its twists and turns, unexpected surprises and gifts. It seemed to be the road Mary and Cobb would travel together. All roads do eventually come to an end where another begins.

The river will take Mary and Cobb on their journey and it will take us along with them, wherever it leads.

 

 


Rachel-K wrote:

 

 

Are any readers familiar with this river in real life?

 

How is the natural world a character in the story?

 

How does the river play a role in the novel so far?


 

 

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melisndav
Posts: 37
Registered: ‎06-16-2009
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Re: The Great Outdoors

What do you make of the fact that so far, we spend almost no time indoors? Even when Mary and Cobb make friends and visit a lodge for a small dinner party, they head back outside as soon as they possibly can. How does this play a part in their brand new relationship? Did it feel to you as if they were "playing house" while they visited?   Mary seems like the type that she wants to be one with nature and that is why they spend much of the time outdoors.  Cobb wants to spend time with her and enjoys being outdoors as well.   Them being outside so much just make their relationship more intimate. 

 

 

Are any readers familiar with this river in real life?  No - not much of a nature person

 

How is the natural world a character in the story?  It is just a key element of the story.  It plays a huge part in the Chungamunga world.

 

How does the river play a role in the novel so far?  the further down the river Mary & Cobb go, the more intense their relationship becomes.

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dhaupt
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Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: The Great Outdoors

                            ***SPOILER****

 

I think the fact that the whole story was told mostly outdoors in indicative of the major players in the book loving the outdoors. Mary with her study of the corivus cultures and I also think she and Cobb just loved being out side.

I do think that mother nature is definitely a character in this book, by her displays of weather, by her creatures all around both human and animal and all of the natural things that meant so much to the other characters in the story, the tree where Cobb and Mary got married, The Allagash river itself, the bears and moose and all the other wildlife.

 

The river I think in this book represents life itself, sometimes calm, sometimes filled with rapids but always moving on wether the traveler on that river is ready for it or not.

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quiltedturtle1
Posts: 31
Registered: ‎09-02-2009
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Re: The Great Outdoors

How is the natural world a character in the story?

 

The natural world is a main character in the story. It factors into all of the scenes and Mary and Cobb talk about it constantly. The author places them there and gives them many characteristics of the wild, i.e.. falling in love so quickly is something that animals do when they choose a mate. Mary’s insistence on the possibility of ending her life if she presents symptoms is another attribute of the natural world where the weak are not taken care of as in the human world.

 

How does the river play a role in the novel so far?

The river is a major part of the novel because it mirrors the lives of the characters. With its calm and rapids it mirrors the paths of life that everyone experiences.

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maxcat
Posts: 4,011
Registered: ‎11-01-2006
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Re: The Great Outdoors

I've noticed that too.Maybe it's a privacy factor that they can do what they want and feel they might be resticted in the lodge. This is my thought. I'm not outdoorsy except to go hiking up in the Blue Ridge Mountains but you couldn't get me into a tent. I have to have hot water for a bath and a good bed to sleep on.

I'm not familiar with this particular river but just the author's decriptions in autumn make me want to go there and hike surrounding areas. Ialso think that no matter where you go, animals are going to cross paths with you. We have deer and coyotes here in Charloote,NC. and it seems unreal to have them in the city but people are encroaching on their land and they have to come in to find something to eat.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep - Robert Frost
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emmagrace
Posts: 162
Registered: ‎12-04-2008

Re: The Great Outdoors

I like that most of the story so far is spent outdoors. Nature is obviously a huge part of Mary's life and Cobb seems to really enjoy himself outdoors.

 

I am not familiar with this river, but I am really curious about it now and would love to visit!

 

The river represents freedom in my opinion. It also represents life in many ways. The river is serene some places and tumultuous in others.

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Fozzie
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Re: The Great Outdoors

I think the cycle of life in nature is mirroring the cycle of life we are going to see with Mary.  Animals and plants live, play a part in the web of life, and eventually die, yet the web of life continues.  I wonder if we will see how life continues after Mary's death?

Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
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Vermontcozy
Posts: 5,276
Registered: ‎10-20-2008

Re: The Great Outdoors

[ Edited ]

To answer the first part:They are both very at peace with being outdoors,that was the whole premise of why both of them were there at the Allagash River.in the first place.If they slept inside at the Cabin,it would be braking that bond they shared,and the whole purpose of the trip,I have camped,mostly in Northern Calif,and only once here in Vt.Its private,especially with their relationship just beginning,and fun.Yes the playing house fantasy was very sweet.I am not familiar with the Allagash River,but want to be..Thank you Joseph for bringing this to my attention.Cobb and Mary both have such passion for nature,both learning from each other.It's just amazing how much I have learned so far.I love the stories,I love the Bears,and especially the Crows.Ah the River,Eternal on the Water..Their experiences ,more so Cobb than Mary,are all ruled by the river.its so beautiful to read about.We know the connection,from the beginning,it only has intensified for me..I read the 1st 8 chapters,and I sort of keep going back to read it again,certain passages. Vtc

Kindness,I've discovered,is everything in life...Issac Bashevis Singer
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lg4154
Posts: 72
Registered: ‎02-06-2009

Re: The Great Outdoors

I think the nature scene is important and adds to the greater appreciation of Thoreau. Nature is so important to practically all the characters and I like how Cobb and Mary like to sleep outside. When you are outside, you are more free than when you are cooped up inside.

 

I felt the scenes at the cabin for  Cobb and Mary made them feel a little out of place. They are just staring a relationship and it seems to be the other couple views them as being together a really long time. The natural world almost becomes another character in itself, a mystical one. The bear references are a perfect example.

 

The river is important because this is where Mary returns year after year to become eternal on the water. It as where she can live for the moment and forget about how her disease will progress. It is an escape for her and it is so great that this is where she meets Cobb.

 

I myself am not familiar with this river, I have been camping for ten days in Colorado and there is nothing better in the world than waking up at a campsite and looking at the mountains in the background, it almost cleanses your soul!

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LindaEducation
Posts: 240
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: The Great Outdoors

It just seems so natural for the book to take place almost totally outdoors amongst nature.  Mary loves the outdoors and seems totally in her element when she is outdoors. Cobb loves the outdoors too and that is an improtant part of their relationship.  I wish I could say I am familiar with the river but I am not.  I however do love nature and the outdoors and find the book refreshing because of that.

You know you've read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend. -- Paul Sweeney
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Frostbacksgirl
Posts: 33
Registered: ‎05-23-2009

Re: The Great Outdoors

What do you make of the fact that so far, we spend almost no time indoors? Even when Mary and Cobb make friends and visit a lodge for a small dinner party, they head back outside as soon as they possibly can. How does this play a part in their brand new relationship? Did it feel to you as if they were "playing house" while they visited? I love the outdoor setting. I haven't read many books where the story is based on being outside. I believe they head back outside because that is where they are most comfortable, and that is where they met.

 

 

Are any readers familiar with this river in real life? No, but I am really curious about it now, so I plan on learning whatever I can about the river.

 

How is the natural world a character in the story? The natural world is a binding force, it is what brought Mary and Cobb together.

 

How does the river play a role in the novel so far? It challeneges them, as we all know that life is challenging. They watch each other to see how one handles the ups and downs of the river. If you can handle the ups and downs of the river to where it's calm one minute and raging the next, I believe you can handle a relationship.

~Sara~
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msw888
Posts: 14
Registered: ‎12-01-2009
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Re: The Great Outdoors

I thought the outdoor setting was appropriate for this story and didn't notice much that it was mostly outdoors.

 

Are any readers familiar with this river in real life?

No, I grew up in West Coast and not familiar with this river.

 

How is the natural world a character in the story?

Nature is part of the character in the story because this is how Mary and Cobb met. Their interest in crows and life of Thoreau on this particular river is part of nature that cannot be ignored. Nature as part of circle of life is similar with what Mary is going through life and then death,

 

How does the river play a role in the novel so far?

The river represent the setting where Mary and Cobb met, but it also represents turmoils, challenges of life. By being able to run the river, Cobb became more confident through Mary's encouragement. The river can be unpredictable, it can be calm one moment and dangerous the next moment which can take your breath away. It is also the setting of the beginning and ending of the story.

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Vermontcozy
Posts: 5,276
Registered: ‎10-20-2008
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Re: The Great Outdoors


Frostbacksgirl wrote:

What do you make of the fact that so far, we spend almost no time indoors? Even when Mary and Cobb make friends and visit a lodge for a small dinner party, they head back outside as soon as they possibly can. How does this play a part in their brand new relationship? Did it feel to you as if they were "playing house" while they visited? I love the outdoor setting. I haven't read many books where the story is based on being outside. I believe they head back outside because that is where they are most comfortable, and that is where they met.

 

 

Are any readers familiar with this river in real life? No, but I am really curious about it now, so I plan on learning whatever I can about the river.

 

How is the natural world a character in the story? The natural world is a binding force, it is what brought Mary and Cobb toge

How does the river play a role in the novel so far? It challeneges them, as we all know that life is challenging. They watch each other to see how one handles the ups and downs of the river. If you can handle the ups and downs of the river to where it's calm one minute and raging the next, I believe you can handle a relationship.    


Frostbacksgirl....Good point..It really can have that effect. on relationships.,,..Vtc

 

Kindness,I've discovered,is everything in life...Issac Bashevis Singer
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MSaff
Posts: 272
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: The Great Outdoors

What do you make of the fact that so far, we spend almost no time indoors? Even when Mary and Cobb make friends and visit a lodge for a small dinner party, they head back outside as soon as they possibly can. How does this play a part in their brand new relationship? Did it feel to you as if they were "playing house" while they visited?

  I am rather enjoying that the story to this point has spend a vast majority of time in the outdoors.  Besides how can one travel down a river and experience the wildlife, if you are not in the outdoors? 

  As for the time spent in the lodging cabin, I found it a respite from the elements of the weather for a short time.  I don’t believe that either Mary or Cobb intended to spend any time indoors as their individual plans were to go do the Allagash and spend time with nature.  Their getting together was just a plus in my mind.  Were they playing house while they visited?  I don’t think so.  I think that were grateful for the invitation for a hot meal during  a miserable time, due to the weather, and the changing of weather patterns was at best unsure. 

 

Are any readers familiar with this river in real life?

  I am not familiar with this particular river, but I must say that it does intrigue me to find out more about it.  After all it’s not really that far from where I live. 

 

How is the natural world a character in the story?

  Mr.. Monninger has done a wonderful job of bringing the natural world in as a primary character.  I know that as I read the story and the descriptions of what is going on around the characters, I can smell, feel and live the outdoors. 

 

How does the river play a role in the novel so far?

  So far I have found the river to be playing an important role in the novel.  First of all it is what brought Mary and Cobb together.  Secondly, Mary has spent a lot of time on this river, both as a Chungamunga Girl, and now not just as a Chungamunga Girl, but as a nature lover.  The river has also taken on a special place for Cobb.  He is getting in touch with his Thoreau side and as a special gift, he has found Mary and fallen in love.  Yes  the river is playing a pivotal role in the novel so far.

 

Mike
"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind." Dr. Seuss
http://travelswithcarsandbooks.blogspot.com/
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ESTONE
Posts: 10
Registered: ‎11-06-2009
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Re: The Great Outdoors

From reading the beginning passage of the book and then delving into the start of the love story between Mary and Cobb you know that the river and nature are the background to this whole story.  It would feel much different if this story were set indoors at a climbing store or at a gym.  This setting allows Mary and Cobb to both become a little vulnerable to nature and really let the other in, even if they do not realize it.  The indoor/cabin scene was a little weird but I think their relationship grew in a different way.  They were socializing with other people and acknowledging their relationship outside of themselves.  It was very natural for them to head back outside because that is really where their relationship is and they feel so much more comfortable there.   

 

I have no knowledge of this river in real life; but it sounds like a beautiful place to visit.

 

The natural world really builds this story and Mary and Cobb's relationship.  From the beginning of when they meet everything is new and exciting for both of them.  All of the nuances of the river, the wildlife and nature surrounding them are fresh.  I think this background really allows their relationship to blossom because it allows for them to be dependant on each other.  A perfect example is when Mary talks about food and cooking.  She does neither well but Cobb is proficient or better and can take care of Mary in this regard.  I don’t know if this is intentional but it seems like a little bit of foreshadowing by the author. 

 

So far the river is really the meeting and melding point for Mary and Cobb's relationship.  When they first got onto the Allagash they were just starting their journey and just meeting, as they work their way down the river their trip grows in excitement just like their relationship.  It also puts them on neutral ground (until they meet the Chungamunga girls) because neither Mary nor Cobb have any knowledge of people that they run into. 

 

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MSaff
Posts: 272
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: The Great Outdoors

Hi Everyone,

 

  Here's a site for the Allagash River. 

 

http://www.allagashriver.com/

 

  I hope you enjoy it.

 

Mike
"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind." Dr. Seuss
http://travelswithcarsandbooks.blogspot.com/