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Rachel-K
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Fathers and Sons

Mike has had very little contact with his father over the years. What are his feelings for him? Why does he have the urge to protect him now? Are you convinced by Mike's arguments of his father's innocence in this situation?

 

Do you get a sense of Jack's feelings for Mike in these chapters? When Mike is in the hospital with pneumonia, he wakes to find his father crying. How did you interpret his father's tears?

 

Mike spends part of a summer with his father when he was a teenager. Can you describe that trip and the impression it made on Mike?

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dhaupt
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Re: Fathers and Sons

I think Mike is always giving Jack the benefit of the doubt and I think it's misplaced but I can't know what's inside of a young man's mind regarding his feelings of his absent father. I can suppose though that Mike has always yearned for Jack's if not respect than at least knowledge of Mike's existence. In all the reading we've done about Jack and Mike, Jack ignores Mike more than anything else.

 

Jack is an enigma to me, I can't figure him out and at this point have no desire to as he's a thorn in my side in this novel. When I want to feel something for him, he does something mean or stupid and I loose all respect for him again. Regarding Mike finding Jack crying at his bedside, maybe it was a result of a high fever and Mike imagined it, because I can't find any humanity that would show me that Jack would care.

 

The summer when Mike was 16 and spent with Jack I think shored up Mike's feelings about poaching, the law and Jack. I think it was then that made Mike decide to become a Warden, it was obvious of the respect he had for Charlie even in their short acquaintance.

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lg4154
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Re: Fathers and Sons

I can see Mike's urge to protect his father and think he is innocent, despite all that happened with him, that is still his father. Even if somebody were to hate their father, that is still their flesh and blood and a persons basic instinct would kick in to protect them.

 

I do sense that deep down Jack does love his son, especially when he is crying in the hospital. Maybe he acts this way to make his son more tough?

 

The summer that Mike spent with his father was a real eye opener for him. Jack was never around and basically Mike ended up doing all the work at the camp. Mike was first exposed to his fathers poaching and it upset him very much. Especially the scene with the sheriff, Mike not letting him into the house. He was even protecting him then.

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maxcat
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Re: Fathers and Sons

Mike really did not any contact with his father. After all, the man took him trapping one bitterly cold day when Mike was already sick and showed him what to do with trapping animals. He would show Mike that when an animal is trapped, he can shoot it dead. This part made me squemish in that an animal's life is gone in an instant. Mike is too sick and eventually winds up in the hospital with pneumonia. His father is at his side crying because it was his fault for taking the kid out on a cold day trapping.

I think when Mike received that phone call from his Dad, he was not happy about it. But when his father gets arrested for murdering a cop, Mike defends him. I guess blood is thicker than water in that even though you hate your own father, you stick by him and help him. But he is hampered by the police as he is a relative and his emotions are running on high at the moment.

Mike finds out about poaching when he and his dad go up in the wilderness when he was a teen. Mike's dad shot a deer and were gutting it with Truman Dellis. Charley Stevens lands on the lake by where Jack's cabin is. Mike comes out and delays Charley from going into the cabin. This is another sign that Mike will defend his father no matter what happens.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep - Robert Frost
CAG
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CAG
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Re: Fathers and Sons

I don't think it is unusual for even a grown child to want to protect their parent. Parent-child relationships are very complex. So mike's desire to protect his father seems very natural to me and I think it is is even stronger because of the lack of contact they have had throughout the years. The other aspect of this is Mike wants his father 's approval. I think at this point I too believe in his father's innocence.

 

I thought Jack's tears when Mike ended up in the hospital with pneumonia were based both on fear of losing his son and guilt because he didn't take his illness seriously.

 

I think the trip to see his father when he was a teenager opened Mike's eyes to the fact his father was pretty much into himself and didn't have any respect for the law. I think Mike realized then his father would not change and that he had a chosen a certain life style that Mike did not want to be a part of.

 

 

CAG
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LindaEducation
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Re: Fathers and Sons

I think Mike always seeks his Dad's approval. I think it is a bit of love/hate relationship. His Dad is his Dad though, and Mike will always have some allegience to him. When his Dad cried over Mike's hospital bed it showed he does have some feeling, however when Mike saw him crying his Dad turned his head, and then left. His Dad wants to be "the tough guy" and didnt want his son to see his softer side.
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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momofprecious1
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Re: Fathers and Sons

[ Edited ]

Mike's impression of when his father met his mother was that his father was a "fatalistic young guy, wounded in body & soul, who couldn't believe the good luck that had come his way in the form of this gorgeous girl, who knew from having been to war that good luck never lasts, & so went about sor of preemptively destroying his luck before it could go bad on him." The forest was Jacks escape whenever things didn't go right at home. Mike says that Jack was a poacher by necessity and he was too proud to accept food stamps. Mike doesn't believe that his father is a murderer, "he is a bar brawler but not a terrorist." I think it's just natural for any child to think that their father is not a murderer.

 

When Jack asked Mike to go trapping Mike told him that he was sick & Jacks response was "You've got a cold. It won't kill you to go outside." Jack knew he had a bad chest cold but it seems like he wanted his son to buck up & act like a man. It reminded me of when men tell their son's that boys don't cry. I don't know how to interpret Jack's tears because he just got up & left Mike alone in the hospital room. I think he felt bad & maybe scared that Mike had probably gotten so sick because of him taking him trapping but he never really showed his son that he loved him (at least in the few chapters that I've read- I'm trying to keep to the schedule).

 

When Mike was 16 he told his mom he wanted to spend the summer with his father & she tried to talk him out of it. He felt that he didn't know his father & that this would be a good opportunity for him to get to know him better. When Mike spoke to his father he was making excuses & told him he would be busy because he didn't want Mike to expect too much. From the minute he arrived at the station things were not good, his father never bothered to pick him up. Jack finally showed up drinking & driving & playing chicken with a truck. Not exactly the kind of situations you would want your child to experience with his father. Mike was so hungry for his father's love that when his father finally clapped him on the shoulder really hard & told him that it was good to see him it made Mike happy. Mike did not get to spend much time with his father, Mike spent most of the time working while his father was off in the woods or running errands to Flagstaff. I think this trip was what made Mike interested in becoming a game warden although his father described them as being arrogant bastards. I wasn't particularly interested in the dissecting of the the deer but I did find it interesting how Mike squeezed tight the bullet that had killed the deer.  

.

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fordmg
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Re: Fathers and Sons

I see Mike as always looking for acceptance from his father.  That happens with abused children.  They think they can change the person, but it hardley ever happens.  I am not surprised that Jack does not seek a relationship with his son.  He did not approve of Mike becoming a Warden, so he decided to stay out of his way.  Now he is calling because he thinks maybe Mike can help.  But Mike has problems with relationships as well.  Twice Jack calls, and they argue before Jack can get out what he wants Mike to do, and Jack hangs up.  Mike still thinks he should help his father, and doesn't know the correct avenue to do this. 

 

I wondered about Jack crying when Mike was in the hospital with pneumonia.  I think Jack did not takes Mike's cold seriously, so took him out in the cold.  He wanted Mike to understand how he did his trapping, and couldn't cope with a child's needs.  I think that was the final staw for Mike's mother and maybe why she finally left.   He might have been crying for her as well.  Even though taking Mike out trapping could be considered abuse, I don't think Jack intentionally wanted to hurt Mike. 

 

Mike's summer with Jack was a little upsetting for me.  Mike pushed it, Jack didn't want him there, but came anyway.  At the end of the chapter when Mike went home Jack only said "I'm not driving you" then "I never promised you anything."  Mike accepted that.  Jack just didn't have anything of himself to give to his son.  I think it was probably good that Mike made the trip.  He finally understood what his father was all about.  If he hadn't gone, he would have always wondered about his parents split. 

 

MG

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DSaff
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Re: Fathers and Sons

There seems to be so much more to the relationship between Mike and his father than we have read so far. There is a strong bond even though they are so far apart. Neither seems able to show love for the other, making it an impossible situation. I think Jack wanted Mike to be strong, wants him to toughen up, but forgot that he was a little boy and not a man. The pneumonia episode showed him how wrong he was, and the guilt was clearly his. I think he let his son go because he knew his mother would take better care of him. Drinking so much leads to irresponsible behavior, and that is easy to see. But, there is more to it and I hope we find out more as the book progresses.

 

The summer trip had good and bad points. While Mike wanted to see his father and was willing to do anything to be with him, he learned that old habits die hard. His dad hadn't seemed to change at all and maybe he had wasted his time. The trip ended abruptly, but I think lessons were learned on both ends. How much of that we get to be privvy to remains to be seen.  :smileyhappy:

 

DonnaS =) " Reading is a means of thinking with another person's mind; it forces you to stretch your own." Charles Scribner
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mamawli
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Re: Fathers and Sons

It seems to me that Mike is reliving his time with his father when he was a teenager. He sees the boy with his dad looking forlorn when he knows that his father has done something wrong with the law. Mike knows that his dad also was against the law as per the deer incident. Mike had to look at the game warden and pretend that he did not know that his father had killed the deer with his friend. Mike was unhappy with his trip to visit his father when he was a teen. This may have been the reason that he wanted to become a game warden. For some reason Mike seems to think that his father is innocent in this situation. His father does minor things that are wrong and when he is drunk. His mother also seems to think that his father is not capable of killing the law enforcement officer.
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Bonnie_C
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Re: Fathers and Sons

The summer that Mike spent with Jack, he was hoping to find a normal relationship with his father.  Unfortunately Jack is damaged goods and Mike finally saw his father for what he was.

 

Mike truly believes that Jack is innocent.  I don't think this is just wishful thinking.  Mike is a very logical thinker.  He knows his father and what he is capable of.

 

Why is Jack crying at Mike's bedside?

A.  He feels guilty

B.  He is in pain after the mother bashed him on the head with a baseball bat

C.  He is in pain after getting his leg caught in one of his own animal traps.

 

We should probably vote for A.  But I would like to think B or C would be true.

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kleeGA
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Re: Fathers and Sons

  • Mike doesn’t really care for the way his Dad has treated him or his mother, but I think that he still loves him because he is his father and he’s the only one he has.  He feels the need to protect him because of his strong sense of right and wrong.  Mike strongly feels that his dad didn’t do it.  I am convinced of his arguments.  I think that he has a pretty good handle on his dad’s attitudes.

 

  • I think that Jack does care in some way about his son, but it doesn’t override his sense of self.  Jack cares more for himself than his son.  I think Jack is crying more because his wife threatened to leave him if something happens to Mike.

 

  • I would think that Mike had a horrible trip that summer.  I’m surprised he stuck around as long as he did.  Mike didn’t make any friends during that trip and the owner of the camp was a tyrant.  He met a girl, but he didn’t really talk to her much because she was younger.  The only good thing that came of this trip was that he met the warden which helped set up his future life.  His argument about his father’s character seems to come mostly from this event where his father illegally killed a deer.  The other man hidden wanted to shoot the warden, but his father didn’t. 

 

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Meandmoose
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Re: Fathers and Sons

Rachel-K wrote:

Mike has had very little contact with his father over the years. What are his feelings for him? Why does he have the urge to protect him now? Are you convinced by Mike's arguments of his father's innocence in this situation?

 

Do you get a sense of Jack's feelings for Mike in these chapters? When Mike is in the hospital with pneumonia, he wakes to find his father crying. How did you interpret his father's tears?

 

Mike spends part of a summer with his father when he was a teenager. Can you describe that trip and the impression it made on Mike?

I think Mike was continually searching for some type of acknowledgement, attention or interest from his father. Even his choice of being a game warden, something that flew in the face of what his father believed in, seemed to subconsciously be a cry for attention.

 

Mike protects his father and believes in his innocence because he can't believe that his father would murder someone in cold blood. No one wants to believe that they come from a murderer. I was convinced that Jack was innocent because of the parts of the book that seemingly foreshadowed it. In one section it said what a shy, gentle person Jack was before the war and then again when Jack was crying by the hospital bed when Mike had pneumonia. These led me to think that deep down, underneath all the damage from the war, was still the shy, gentle man. I interpreted Jack's tears as an admission of his inability to be a good parent. Though he may have wanted to be better, he was too twisted to carry it off. 

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Deltadawn
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Re: Fathers and Sons

Well said, CAG!

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ruthieWW
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Re: Fathers and Sons

Mike has had very little contact with his father over the years. What are his feelings for him? Why does he have the urge to protect him now? Are you convinced by Mike's arguments of his father's innocence in this situation?

 

I think Mike is like most all of us, who seek approval, acceptance and unconditional love from our parents. Mike had a big dose of reality the summer he spent with his father and saw first hand what his father's lifestyle was like. But even though there is no contact, Mike has a bond with Jack..I think at this point it is a bond even he does not understand.

 

 Do you get a sense of Jack's feelings for Mike in these chapters? When Mike is in the hospital with pneumonia, he wakes to find his father crying. How did you interpret his father's tears?

 

Jack does have feelings for Mike, as seen by the tears of guilt he shed. I am a believer that there is good in every person.

 

 Mike spends part of a summer with his father when he was a teenager. Can you describe that trip and the impression it made on Mike? .

This trip was an eye-opener, a reality check. From the beginning of the book, we are introduced to the BEAR that Mike is trying to catch. To me this bear is like his father. They both are wild and exist to sustain themselves in the wild. When a problem occurs, Mike decides to set a trap...not to hurt the bear, but to save it from ITSELF. Mike does not want anyone to kill the bear, just as he defends his father. He know the Bear only kills out of instinct, survival....that is the same with his father. So Mike wants to find them and protect them.

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Zia01
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Re: Fathers and Sons

Mike has had very little contact with his father over the years. What are his feelings for him? Why does he have the urge to protect him now? Are you convinced by Mike's arguments of his father's innocence in this situation? To put it simply, I think MIke seek's his dad's approval and love.

 

Do you get a sense of Jack's feelings for Mike in these chapters? When Mike is in the hospital with pneumonia, he wakes to find his father crying. How did you interpret his father's tears? I think Jack loves his son and he feels bad he put him in the hospital, but at the same time, Jack is so self involved and reckless he doesnt see very far past himself.

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BookWoman718
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Re: Fathers and Sons

Some people just shouldn't be parents, and Jack is one of those.  He has misguided ideas about appropriate activities for his son - keeping a sick, small child trekking around in the snow checking traps isn't teaching him manly things, it's endangering his health.   Not meeting a 16 year old who has traveled to visit is just rude, even if you want him to understand that you aren't willing to nursemaid him for a whole summer.  Mike's dad - and sure, maybe it's all his war experience - is a selfish adult jerk, who has no adult skill-set that might be worth his son's learning from him.  

Mike romanticizes his father - why he hasn't become disillusioned by this age is a mystery - and overlooks his failings.  He has defined himself as his father's only ally, no doubt while he was growing up in his mom and stepdad's home, and he hasn't reevaluated that position.  He's still unquestioningly loyal.  He's still young. 

Mike's mom did herself and her son an enormous favor getting them away from Jack's renegade way of life before it was too late. 

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EbonyAngel
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Re: Fathers and Sons

Rachel-K wrote:

Mike has had very little contact with his father over the years. What are his feelings for him? Why does he have the urge to protect him now? Are you convinced by Mike's arguments of his father's innocence in this situation?

 

Do you get a sense of Jack's feelings for Mike in these chapters? When Mike is in the hospital with pneumonia, he wakes to find his father crying. How did you interpret his father's tears?

 

Mike spends part of a summer with his father when he was a teenager. Can you describe that trip and the impression it made on Mike?

Mike still cares for his father and in a way looks up to him and seeks his approval.  I think he wants to protect him because after all, no one wants to think that their parent would do anything so wrong as to kill a person.

Seemed to me that the fact Jack was crying that night when Mike was in the hospital shows that even though he always seemed to be and do whatever he wanted, he did realize that taking Jack out in the cold was not a good idea. 

The summer that Mike spent with his father was the pivotal point in his relationship with him.  He came to realize that no matter what, his father was always going to be the same and out only for hisself.

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nfam
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Re: Fathers and Sons

I think Jack feels a guilt about his relationship with his father. He doesn't really like his father. I think that's why he wants to protect him. His father is obviously an out of control, probably alcoholic, man. Still, like many alcoholics, he's an attractive character part of the time. Like many people when faced with someone who appears to like them, and is difficult they want to protect and help that person. Very interesting psychological trait. You see the same thing with animals. A vicious animal that likes only you make you have a strong relationship with that animal. 

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MSaff
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Re: Fathers and Sons

Good Afternoon Everyone, 

 

  Mike's involvement with his father or lack there of, was primarily because of the divorce.  We did read that his father was not a personable man probably due to other concerns in his life, but as a father, Jack Bowditch should have shown some concern and interest in his only child.  It initially appeared as though he didn't care about his estranged wife, and he showed little interest in Mike's wife, Sarah, or their lives.  Jack had little contact with Mike, because I don't think he wanted much if any contact with him. 

  Mike appears to have always wanted his father;s approval, or at the very least acceptance.  Somehow, I think Mike wanted to be like his Dad, but also wanted to change him to suit his, Mike's needs as well as his mother's.  I think that Mike is proclaiming his father's innocence, because he has seen how his father has acted in the past, and yes, there have  been some strange goings on in his life, but never to the point of murder.  So in this instance, I believe that Mike is right on proclaiming his father's innocence.  Right or wrong, Jack is still his father and Mike wants to protect him. 

 

  Now for the time that Mike spent with his father during the Summer as a teenager. 

 

  Mike wanted to be close to his dad and try to get to know him better.  It is true that he had been away from him for a while, and I think that Mike still thought that he could change his father.  As it turned out, the summer was a flop, as Mike was treated as a slave and didn't spend much time with his father.  We read that one time, they spent the time covering up a deer poaching experience and that's when Mike first met Charlie, from the Warden Service.  Somehow I think that Charlie had an influence on Mike at that time but Mike didn't know it or maybe admit it at the time.

 

Rachel-K wrote:

Mike has had very little contact with his father over the years. What are his feelings for him? Why does he have the urge to protect him now? Are you convinced by Mike's arguments of his father's innocence in this situation?

 

Mike spends part of a summer with his father when he was a teenager. Can you describe that trip and the impression it made on Mike?

 

 

Mike
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