Grant T. Smith, Ph. D.
English 204:1 Environmental Literature
Into the Forest -- Discussion Questions

Themes:

Style: Individual Projects:

Writing Projects:

1.  Read the third full paragraph on page 11.  Keep track for one week of the "casual way we use things."  Read also the penultimate paragraph on page 135.  Collect in a garbage bag everything that you would normally throw away.  Then, at the end of the week, assess what you have accumulated.  What conclusions can you draw?  Any surprises?  What changes can you make to "casually use" less?

2.  Read the fourth paragraph on page 12.  Write an essay on what changes we are ignoring.  You may also want to look at page 16.

3.  Read the last paragraph on page 15.  What does it mean "to defend our way of life?"

4.  Read the first and second paragraphs on page 17.  If the old rules are suspended, then what rules replace them?  Look also on page 232.  What needs to be fixed? 

5.  Spend one week without using any electrical appliances.  Write a report on how the week went.

6.  Read again the section where Nell eats the candy kiss (pp. 101-1105).  What does the section reveal about the human condition?

7.  What does Nell come to learn about death?  How does she learn it?  Look carefully at pages 158-172.  Compare the deaths in this book (and what we learn from those deaths) to the deaths in Refuge and Into the Wild.

8.  Read pages 171-173.  How much do you know about your environment?  Can you name the trees, the shrubs, the animals, the birds that reside in your neighborhood?  You have one week to find out.

9.  What is the purpose of knowledge?  Look at how the encyclopedias are used in the novel.  Read pages 177 and 207.

10.  How do you define yourself?  Are you your own person?

11.  What books would you save and take with you if you were in Nell and Eva's situation?

12.  This book has three scenes where sex is used as an important vehicle to advance the plot and theme.  Discuss them.