I took a vacation to Western Pennsylvania last week to visit relatives. It’s not quite the cross-country trip that I would have had to make to visit Alaska but it did get me thinking about The Snow Child. The hills and people of Western Pennsylvania are very different in so many ways that my flat landed, overpopulated Nassau County.
As I drove along I 80 headed West and watching for my exit I thought about how far away from family that Mabel and Jack had actually traveled. A trip to see family that I put off because of distance, 362 + miles that took me over six hours by car means that I just can’t manage to see them as often as I would like. I couldn’t help but ponder moving away from family knowing that I would in all likelihood never see them again and yet Jack and Mabel did just that. Would you be able to pull up your roots and leave everyone in your life knowing that you might never see them again? Why do you think Jack and Mabel made this decision? Did you get a sense from any of the characters that they regretted leaving kit and kin?
Given their ages (around 50 at the beginning of the novel) do you think that either gave much thought to the possibility of being abandoned and alone in this desolate area should one of them die? Do you think that Mabel would have been able to carry on in the wilds of Alaska? What do you think she would have done had this occurred? Was Jack better suited to the wilderness? Would he have remained or do you think he might have been tempted back to Pennsylvania?