Eng 211 Short Story Questions and Answers

In: English and Literature

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The Loon

Study Questions 1. What is the relationship between Vanessa and Piquette, and how does this relationship change?

Vanessa's feelings towards Piquette change from discomfort to curiosity to embarrassment.

2. How are the Metis represented in the story?

“if that half-breed youngster comes along to Diamond Lake, I'm not going” (188)

Vanessa's images of Natives are drawn solely from literature, and these representations are only superficially positive. When Piquette doesn't reveal nature's secrets, Vanessa concludes “as an Indian, Piquette was a dead loss” (191)

3. What do the loons symbolize?

“My dad says we should listen and try to remember how they sound, because in a few more years when more cottages are built at Diamond Lake and more people come in, the loons will go away” (190-91). Years later when Vanessa visits the lake, after the deaths of her father and Piquette, she realizes that the loons are no longer there. The loons become associated with death and loss, and while symbolic of Piquette, they are also an allegory of Canadian history.

4. What does Vanessa mean by the last sentence of the story?

When Vanessa encounters Piquette as a young woman, she recognizes in Piquette what she hears in the loons' cries—“self-pity” (192) and “terrifying hope” (193); when Vanessa learns of Piquette's death soon after, she responds with silence. Vanessa's personal loss—of her father and of Piquette—is connected through the symbol of the loons with the Metis' loss of their land and their culture. Vanessa's realization at the end of the story, that only Piquette “had heard the crying of the loons” (194), signals the loss of her political innocence. Vanessa faces the reality of Canadian history at a direct personal level.

5. How does Laurence connect the personal with the political in “The Loons”? 6. How does Laurence…...

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