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