Ok sorry about the lateness. I thought I could post some this morning while goofing off at work and I ended up being swamped. That's karma for ya! I'll try to post the discussion topics Monday evenings so that we can get the discussion in full swing all of Tuesday.
With that out of the way, here are some thoughts for discussion:
Prologue - Chapter 4
1) In the first couple of chapters, Sonny McGuiness is described as incredibly and insatiably curious yet he's also described as being a loner (liking to drink alone) and only truly enjoying the company of Native Americans (when he tolerated company). Discuss how a curious person can also live a life of near seclusion. Wouldn't his curiosity drive him to be around others? Or is more that his curiosity only extends to certain subjects?
2) As Sonny and Dennis the Deadhead discuss the existence of The Silver Spring, Sonny asks why Dennis is giving him this piece of valuable information. Dennis says that:
a) maybe if Sonny goes there, he'll feel what Dennis felt
b) maybe if Sonny goes there, it will scare the shit out of him the way it did Dennis
c) maybe Sonny can do something with the find
d) maybe Dennis was just drunk
Why do you believe Dennis gave this information to Sonny? Why would he want to send someone to a place that he's convinced is Evil? Is it just a case of mutual suffering (i.e. Person1: This stinks! Here, smell this. Person 2: *sniff* Ew that really stinks! Why would you tell me to smell something that stinky?!)
3) The theme of superstition is very strong in these opening chapters. Dennis the Deadhead is superstitious about The Silver Spring, calling it evil; Sonny has a lucky Hopi charm that he takes on specifically for his trip to find the Silver Spring; Sonny has a "lucky pie tin" that he uses for panning; when speaking to the local Native Americans Sonny notes that "even the kids and half breeds who don't put any stock" in the old stories were afraid of the Wah Wahs.
What's the cause of all this superstition? Is it the absence of facts that cause this? In the case of Sonny's lucky pie tin, is the source of his superstition more akin to gambling?
4) Greed is also a heavy theme in these first few chapters - from Herbert Darker selling out Sonny, to Connell's ruthlessness, to Barbara Yakely's tolerance of Connell Kirkland's complete shift in personality and management style after the death of his wife. Discuss whether these instances are exaggerated or believable for real life situations.
5) Raise your hand if the description of Connell Kirkland taking his wife's hand at the scene of the accident and realizing her bones were broken made you squirm just a little bit.