El Capitan de la outro espacio
I really meant to participate in this, I bought the book and everything, but I really don't have reading horror in my right now.
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The author seems to want you to think that it did but then why did Ricky die so many years before the other three?
2. Everything that happens throughout the novel is possible only because, on some level, the characters believe that it is. Did their culture and upbringing influence that? Discuss what you believe about spirits, the afterlife, and what is possible or impossible. How easy or difficult was it for you to suspend your disbelief?
One other thing I'm not clear on, was Shaney the Elk Head Woman from the beginning, or did the spirit take on her form after Lewis killed her? She was written primarily as someone who just wanted to sleep with Lewis, and wasn't going to let anything get in her way, but I don't remember much foreshadowing to her being an Elk In Costume. In the final section she said that she was Jolene's cousin, but that felt a bit of a retcon move, a little too pat to tie everything together.
Hmm! I didn't think about this aspect of it.Until Gabe empties his dad's freezer and feeds the meat to some dogs. At that point he's stolen twice - once from the herd, once from his dad. Now all bets are off.
Got it. Definitely misremembered that.Ricky definitely dies well before the others, and is killed by something else. His prologue mentions that Lewis has just run off with Peta, while the other chapters talk about him having died some time ago. And Elk Head Woman's first perspective sections talk about how she's just managed to work her way back into the world and go after Lewis. It fits the pattern above too; Ricky stole the hunting weapons from his entire family and ran off with them in a fit of pique. He's made a radically greater transgression, and is suitably punished.
Elk Head Woman also promised not to attack Denorah but then did anyway, which could be a parallel for them hunting when forbidden.That leaves the question of why Elk Head Woman's behavior changes so dramatically when she tries to hunt Denorah. The answer that fit for me is that Denorah hasn't broken the rules, and isn't a "valid target" - she's not even Gabe's daughter anymore. By hunting her, Elk Head Woman is the one who's transgressing.
Yeah, I saw that question and didn't really buy into it. There's too much inconsistency about beliefs across all the characters.So one discussion question I wanted to focus on:
I don't actually know how much I buy this. Or rather, I think there's some nuance to it. Elk Head Woman uses the characters beliefs, preconceptions, and perspectives to manipulate them, certainly. But she's able to go after people who don't believe in spirits or in proper hunting protocol. Maybe if the characters questioned their reality differently, they wouldn't be vulnerable to this particular manipulation, but I think they'd be vulnerable to others.
I definitely read it as Shaney flirting with Lewis from the start. Teasing him when he was on the phone at work, throwing his phony excuses back at him. "Was calling a guy I know who does electrician stuff on the side." "On the side..." Jumping on the back of his bike so she can throw her arms around and press into him. Even at the end, when Lewis was full on violent paranoia, she sees him looking down her shirt, and she said "All you had to do was ask, yeah?"I'm not sure about this either! Elk Head Woman seems to imply that she managed to find her way back into the world through Peta, and was influencing everyone around him. Though I wouldn't necessarily say Shaney wanted to sleep with Lewis. That's definitely what Lewis thought, but his perceptions aren't reliable. And honestly he's in more than a bit of denial even before things start getting totally out of hand. I felt like it was more that she was looking for companionship, and Lewis read way too much into it... And maybe she was being manipulated too?
Elk Head Woman also promised not to attack Denorah but then did anyway, which could be a parallel for them hunting when forbidden.
Yeah, I saw that question and didn't really buy into it. There's too much inconsistency about beliefs across all the characters.
I definitely read it as Shaney flirting with Lewis from the start. Teasing him when he was on the phone at work, throwing his phony excuses back at him. "Was calling a guy I know who does electrician stuff on the side." "On the side..." Jumping on the back of his bike so she can throw her arms around and press into him. Even at the end, when Lewis was full on violent paranoia, she sees him looking down her shirt, and she said "All you had to do was ask, yeah?"
These things did start happening in the book after he had the vision of the elk through the ceiling fan, and she did enter his life the very next day as the new girl at work, so it could be that was just how EHW was figuring out how to best get revenge. My personal take is that Shaney was just a human woman who wanted to be around someone she had something in common with, and didn't let something like infidelity stop her. The EHW spirit was just mentally manipulating Lewis, up until he killed Peta. Then, she took the next step and became corporeal by generating the elk calf inside Peta's body.
But why? If the reason for her to exist is just to get revenge, why go corporeal and become an elk calf, besides the literary symbolism of their hunt recreating itself. Lewis was about to hop in front of the train that runs by his house, which would've ended this scene nicely. Did the spirit need some way of physically transporting itself back to the reservation, in time to execute the plan before the 10 year anniversary's over?
The more I think about it, the more the story doesn't hold up to intense scrutiny. It was still interesting, like a Tony Hillerman novel with more gore, but I don't know if it was intended to have all the pieces line up.
But where does Ricky fit into that, then? iirc, his escape gets cut off by a whole herd of elk (which is what leads to his getting beaten to death - or did the elk actually trample him, after all?) If EHW wasn't there yet, why did the herd take revenge, and why on only one of them?I think in her first perspective chapter, Elk Head Woman explains (? hints?) that she only managed to find her way back into the world at all through a remote chance, and that was only because Lewis was extremely vulnerable after a decade of denial and repressed guilt, and she could exploit Peta's (near?) pregnancy to attack him. To extend the hunting metaphor, he's alone, cut off in hostile territory. Going after Gabe and Cass meant she had to have a more solid connection to the world. She couldn't "reach" them from where she was, and they had stronger protections she needed to be able to overcome.
But where does Ricky fit into that, then? iirc, his escape gets cut off by a whole herd of elk (which is what leads to his getting beaten to death - or did the elk actually trample him, after all?) If EHW wasn't there yet, why did the herd take revenge, and why on only one of them?
Outside of Shaney and Denorah, I didn't think the women were fleshed out enough. Peta had some backstory, but ultimately was just someone for Lewis to horrifically dismember. Jolene was such a nobody that I'd forgotten her name both times I've tried to reference her in these comments. They just seemed to be vehicles for the men in the story to feel bad about once they've killed them.Jo being under the truck, and staying there for that long for some reason, was I think the single biggest "oh come on" moment for me, among the large pile of coincidences in that sweat lodge massacre. But in general I was willing to suspend a lot of disbelief about exactly how everything worked because it felt like it had kind of a mythological quality to it.
I go back and forth on if this is really refrigeration. I don't think so because the men are just running in terror, there's no real action taken against the spirit by any of them so the women and dogs deaths aren't being used to drive their characters. But it is still really uncomfortable that just because women happen to be around they're brutally killed, and receive the most gratuitous descriptions of their death. To me the overly detailed deaths of the women (and of course the whole pregnancy thing) are what push it toward the pornographic violence category.
They just seemed to be vehicles for the men in the story to feel bad about once they've killed them.
I think I would like to talk more about this:
11. Describe Denorah. Discuss how she ties into what is happening with Elk Head Woman and why she is involved in what happened ten years ago.
Because I am having a hard time figuring it out. The question makes me think that there is more to it than that she is the offspring (the only offspring) of the hunters and so may be "fair" because one of the Elk's offspring was also "fair" in the hunt of ten years ago. Is it her step-dad? Is it that she is in some way the positive mirror to the negative mirror of the EHW? (In a lot of ways if you think about it.)
What do you all think?