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In the Skin Of a Lion
Transcript of In the Skin Of a Lion
-Danger of immigrant labor
-Innocent of youth
-Power of language (unemotional tongue)
-Disparity between rich/poor
-Bugs: motif of Patrick's desire to travel and explore the unknown
-Father to Patrick
-Doesn't speak unless needed
-Does not teach his son life lessons
-Very work directed Patrick:
-Fascination with insects
-Child in an adult community
-Learns a lot on his own (father doesn't teach him life lessons)
-Dreams of adventure -Locals in immigrant community
-Both very quiet
-Hardworking Saving the cow Dynamite People skating Introduction to characters "His father works for two or three farms, cutting wood, haying, herding cattle." pg. 11
-First major introduction to Hazen Lewis
-Shows the hardworking manner of his personality
-Sets of the mood for the rest of Hazen's methodical actions Hazen Lewis:
-Father to Patrick
-Very unemotional "His father works for two or three farms, cutting wood, haying, herding cattle." (pg. 11) "More than anything Patrick is surprised at his father who is obsessed with not wasting things. He has lectured the boy several times on saving rope. Always unknot. Never cut! Bringing out his knife and slicing the rope to pieces is an outrageous, luxurious act." (pg. 13-14 "Hazen Lewis was an abashed man, withdrawn from the world around him, uninterested in the habits of civilization outside his own focus. He would step up to his horse and assume it, as if it were a train, as if flesh and blood did not exist." (pg. 15) “Hazen Lewis did not teach his son anything, no legend, no base of theory. The boy watched him prepare charges or pack equipment neatly back into his wooden case...He was a man who with his few props had become self-sufficient, as invisible as possible...He was a big man, six-foot-six, a heavy body. He was a bad rider of horses and later on a bad driver of trucks. He could assemble river dynamite with his eyes closed...It was strange for Patrick to realize later that he had learned important things, the way children learn from watching how adults angle a hat or approach a strange dog. He knew how much a piece of dynamite the size of a bullfrog could destroy. But he absorbed everything from a distance. The only moments his father was verbal was when calling square dances in the Yarker and Tamworth hotels during the log drives. He was always called on and he walked up to the stage as if it were a duty and broke into verses, swirling around the guitars and fiddles, dropping in a last phrase tight before he hit the wall of the rhyme. Taciturn about everything else, his father was taciturn in his square-dancing calling. His words would slide non-committal over the dance floor, the boy watching at the edge and mouthing the phrases to himself. Not a muscle moved in the large body of his father as he stood there calling “Little red wagon the axle draggin’.” The unemotional tongue. Patrick could see himself on stage striding up and down, his arms bent and cocky. “Birdie fly out and the crow fly in- crow fly and give birdie a spin,” he would mutter to himself, later, in the daylight.” (pg. 18-19) Patrick: -Observer from the outside
-Fascination with nature
-Adventurous “To the boy growing into his twelfth year, having lived all his life on that farm where day was work and night was rest, nothing would be the same. But on this night he did not trust either himself or these strangers of another language enough to be able to step forwards and join them. He turned back through the trees and fields carrying his own lamp. Breaking the crust with each step seemed graceless and slow. So at this stage in his life his mind raced ahead of his body.” “Even the real names are beautiful. Amber-winged skimmer. Bush cricket. Throughout the summer he records their visits and sketches the repeaters. Is is the same creature? He crayons the orange wings of the geometere into his notebook, the lunar moth, the soft brown- as if rabbit fur- of the tussock moth. He will not open the screen and capture their pollened bodies. He did this once and the terrified thrash of the moth- a brown-pink creature who released coloured dust on his fingers- scared them both.” (Pg. 9-10) “He sits down at the long table and looks into his school geography book with the maps of the world, the white sweep of currents, testing the names to himself, mouthing out the exotic. Caspian. Nepal. Durango. He closes the book and brushes it with his palms, feeling the texture of the pebbled cover and its coloured dyes which create a map of Canada.” (pg. 9) “The boy who witnesses this procession, and who even dreams about it, has also watched the men working a mile away in the grey trees. He has heard their barks, heard their axes banging into the cold wood as if into metal, has seen a fire beside the creek where water is molecular and grey under the thin ice.” (pg. 8) Themes: Geography of Identity:
-Because Lewis does not teach Patrick, he must shape his identity through his experience and observations
-Hazen Lewis's identity is shaped through his work
-Patrick's identity is shaped through his observance and curiosity
-Identity is shaped through experiences and influential values of others around you Discovery:
-Throughout this chapter, the reader witnesses discovery on many levels
-Patrick's discovery of everything around through observing
-Patrick's discovery of maturity/grown up ways
-Hazen Lewis's discovery of dynamite
-Immigrant workers discovery of the land Power of Language:
-Power of language, or lack of power is a key theme in "Little Seeds"
-Something as simple sa the divide between locals and immigrant workers is an apparent language barrier
-Hazen Lewis's lack of language causes Patrick to become an observer of everything around him
-Patrick is taught nothing of materialistic value through his father, and therefore has to discover it on his own
"If he is awake early enough the boy sees the men walk past the farmhouse down First Lake Road. Then he stands at the bedroom window and watches." (Pg. 7)
-First look at Patrick
-Creates an adventurous and curious tone to his personality Realizing the cow is missing "The cows cross the river twice a day- in the morning they wander to the land south of the creek and in the afternoon they are rounded up for milking. In winter the animals are taken down the road to a pasture barn, through once a cow headed towards the river longing for back pasture.
They do not miss it for two hours and then his father guesses where it has gone. He runs towards the river yelling to the boy Patrick to follow with the field horses. Patrick is a bareback on a horse leading the other by the rope, urging them on through the deep snow. He sees his father through the bare trees as he rides down the slope towards the swimming hole.
In mid-river, half-submerged in the ice, is the neighboring farmer’s holstein. There is no colour. The dry stalks of dead mulleins, grey trees, and the swamp now clean and white. His father with a rope around his shoulders creeps on his hands and knees across the ice towards the black and white shape. The cow heaves, splitting more ice, and cold water seeps up. Hazen Lewis pauses, calming the animal, then creeps on. He must get the rope under the body twice. Patrick moves forward slowly till he kneels on the other side of the cow. His father puts his left hand on the neck of the animal and plunges his right arm into the freezing water as low as he can go beneath the body.” (Pg. 11)
“And then when Patric was fifteen, his father made the one leap of his life. At some moment, chopping into hemlock, hearing only the axe and its pivoting echo, he must have imagined the trees and permafrost and maple syrup ovens erupting up in one heave, the snow shaken off every branch in the woods around him. He stopped in mid afternoon, walked home, unlaced his bear paws, and put away the axe forever. He wrote away for books, travelled into Kingston for materials. The explosion he saw in the woods had been an idea as he tugged his axe out of the hemlock. He bought dynamite and blasting caps and fuses, drew diagrams on the walls of the drive-shed, then carried the explosives into the woods. He laid the charges against rock and ice and trees. The detonator cap spat a flame into the cartridge and his eyes watched the snow collapse out of branches from the shudder in the air. Whatever was dislodged became a graph showing him the radius of the tremor.” (pg. 15) The horses stop. He and his father switch them, and they break into a trot. Then the whole cow magically emerges out of the ice and is dragged on its side, its four legs straight and hard in the air, dragged uncompromisingly onto the shore and over the brown mulleins." (Pg. 13) "One winter night when he was eleven years old, Patrick walked out from the long kitchen. A blue moth had pulsed on the screen, bathed briefly in light, and then disapeared into darkness...Amoung the trees in the distance he saw what looked like more bugs. Lightning bugs within the trees by the river. But this was winter! he moved forward with the lamp." (Pg. 20) “To the boy growing into his twelfth year, having lived all his life on that farm where day was work and night was rest, nothing would be the same. But on this night he did not trust either himself or these strangers of another language enough to be able to step forwards and join them. He turned back through the trees and fields carrying his own lamp. Breaking the crust with each step seemed graceless and slow. So at this stage in his life his mind raced ahead of his body.” To convey these messages/themes, there are many examples of rhetorical devices such as metaphors
-My favourite metaphor used in this passage: "Breaking the crust with each step seemed graceless and slow." (Pg. 22)
-Metaphor for Patrick's struggle to grow up, as he walks away from adults playing a skating game How is Hazen Lewis's lack of language an impacting factor towards Patrick's personality? What are the biggest differences between Hazen Lewis and Patrick? At what point does Patrick's identity being to cause conflict within him?