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Original Essays | September 15, 2014

Lois Leveen: IMG Forsooth Me Not: Shakespeare, Juliet, Her Nurse, and a Novel



There's this writer, William Shakespeare. Perhaps you've heard of him. He wrote this play, Romeo and Juliet. Maybe you've heard of it as well. It's... Continue »

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Into the Forest

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Into the Forest Cover

ISBN13: 9780553379617
ISBN10: 0553379615
Condition: Standard
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Reading Group Guide

1) Into The Forest seems to convey that the stripped-down life of a hunter-gatherer would be better for us as a species. What Nell and Eva do is clearly right for them. Would it be right for people in general? For women? Is it a tenable ideal for any but the very young, very fit, and very adaptable?

2) Does the lifestyle the sisters adopt in Into The Forest imply or require an abandonment of the whole notion of "advanced civilization?"

3) The Women's Review of Books said of Into The Forest: "Cultural trauma forces the heroines to inhabit and regard their world in radical new ways, [as] recipients of wisdom they did not want but are better off for having." Do you agree with this? Why or why not?

4) How would you answer the question raised by this novel and posed in The Sunday Oregonian: "Where are we heading, and do we know how to survive with our humanity intact if we continue in this direction?"

5) Before razing the house in which they had spent their entire lives and turning to the forest for all their necessities, Nell chooses three books to take with her: Native Plants of Northern California for Eva since it may have already saved her life; a book of stories of those who had lived in the forest for Burl; and the encyclopedia's index for herself. In choosing the index she says, "I could not save all the stories, could not hope to preserve all the information—that was too vast, too disparate, perhaps even too dangerous. But I could take the encyclopedia's index, could try to keep that master list of all that had once been made or told or understood." If you could take only one item from your current existence into the future, and that one item was a book, what would you choose and why? Why do you think that Hegland would choose to describe the retaining of information as "too dangerous?"

6) Some of the most poignant moments of the story are found in minor details. Reading Into The Forest will forever change the way you think about a teabag, a scrap of paper, a metronome, an acorn, or a chocolate kiss candy. It will forever change your thinking about dreams and days of the week. Which of these affected you most? What other examples struck your sensibilities?

7) Above all, Into The Forest is a story about the boundaries and possibilities of sisterhood. Do you feel a comparable story could have been written about a relationship between a brother and sister or two brothers?

8) What kind of childhood do you think Eva's baby will have? If technology and society were to return to advanced states, how might the child adapt to leaving the forest?

9) If your "technologically-based" lifestyle were to evolve into a "nature-based" lifestyle, how do you think you would survive? What would you enjoy? What conveniences would you most miss?

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

HappySnaps, September 1, 2011 (view all comments by HappySnaps)
Into the Forest is one of those books that stays with you long after you've finished reading. It gets you to thinking about your own will to survive, and how you would fare if you found yourself in the same situation as the sisters in the book. What would you do? How well would you survive without having any modern conveniences? Recent natural disasters in the world have shown the importance of being prepared to take care of ourselves and our loved ones when our "normal" way of life is completely disrupted. This book is definitely food for thought.
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(2 of 3 readers found this comment helpful)
raevyn, January 1, 2010 (view all comments by raevyn)
One of my favorite books of all time! I keep a spare copy as a loaner, I love it so much.
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(2 of 5 readers found this comment helpful)
meema2121, July 15, 2009 (view all comments by meema2121)
i simply cannot rave enough about this book. It's simply stunning. The juxtaposition of the two sisters and what they experience is deeply intimate and heart felt. This book will move you in ways you never thought possible, and give you a new sense of humanities greatest and worst attributes. This is a book everyone can read and find a connection in.
A Classic!
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780553379617
Author:
Hegland, Jean
Publisher:
Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group
Location:
New York :
Subject:
General
Subject:
California
Subject:
Fiction
Subject:
Science Fiction - General
Subject:
Science fiction
Subject:
Sisters
Subject:
Wilderness survival
Subject:
Teenage girls
Subject:
Bildungsroman.
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
fiction;sisters;survival;post-apocalyptic;dystopia;california;science fiction;novel;apocalypse;rape;forest;nature;family;speculative fiction;future;environment;dystopian;northern california;apocalyptic;women;ecology;end of the world
Subject:
fiction;sisters;survival;post-apocalyptic;dystopia;science fiction;california;novel;apocalypse;rape;forest;nature;speculative fiction;family;environment;future;northern california;dystopian;women;post-apocalypse;ecology;apocalyptic;end of the world
Copyright:
Edition Number:
1
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series Volume:
no. 510
Publication Date:
19980931
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
256
Dimensions:
8.22x5.24x.55 in. .43 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Featured Titles » Literature
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
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History and Social Science » American Studies » Popular Culture

Into the Forest Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$7.95 In Stock
Product details 256 pages Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group - English 9780553379617 Reviews:
"Review" by , "[M]esmerizing....Hegland's sweet and sadly elegiac tale is an engrossing coming-of-age adventure."
"Review" by , "[A] beautifully written and often profoundly moving novel."
"Review" by , "A work of extraordinary power, insight and lyricism, Into the Forest is both an urgent warning and a passionate celebration of life and love."
"Review" by , "From the first page, the sense of crisis and the lucid, honest voice of the...narrator pull the reader in....A truly admirable addition to a genre defined by the very high standards of George Orwell's 1984." Publishers Weekly
"Review" by , "This beautifully written story captures the essential nature of the sister bond: the fierce struggle to be true to one's own self, only to learn that true strength comes from what they are able to share together."
"Review" by , "Jean Hegland's sense of character is firm, warm, and wise....[A] fine first novel."
"Synopsis" by , This deeply felt story of two sisters struggling to survive amid the collapse of technology and society is at once a classic tale of mythic proportions--and a modern myth with a timely message. "Beautifully written and often profoundly moving".--"San Francisco Chronicle".
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