DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: DANGER TREE


To what extent can the book's full title -- Danger Tree: Memory, War and the Search For A Family's Past -- be used as a way to open up discussion of the possible contributions this memoir might make to a course on War, Memory, Myth and History?  Why the Danger Tree?

How would you compare and contrast the Danger Tree with a more standard historical account?  How would you begin to assess the structure of this book and its relationship to what MacFarlane seems to be attempting to accomplish?

What role does World War I and memory assume in this chronicle?

How would you begin to to explore the relationship between the story of the Goodyears and the larger narratives of Newfoundland, Canadian, British, North American and twentieth-century history?

How can a Newfoundland perspective broaden our understanding of Canadian history?

How would you begin to compare and to contrast MacFarlane's attempt to recapture lost memories and to reconstruct a lost world with Tim O'Brien's attempt to convey the experiences and paradoxes of war in Things They Carried?

Do families have "mythologies"?  How would you compare and contrast the stories told by families and those that are told on a national level?  What are the similarities and differences between family and national identity?

What are the strengths and weaknesses of this book?


Extra Resources

Anndale McTavish, "Glinting Chips Of Rock," Kingston Whig-Standard, August 10, 1991.

Jack Clarke, "Family's Story Is The Story Of Canada," Vancouver Province, June 2, 1991.

Philip Marchand, "Newfoundland's History Hung On The Family Tree," Toronto Star, April 27, 1991.

Bill Schermbrucker, "Return To Root Words -- 'The Danger Tree: Memory, War And The Search For A Family's Past,'" Globe And Mail, April 20, 1991.

Don Gillmor, "Newfoundland And Family Share Tangled Roots; Memoir Moves To Effortless Rhythm," Montreal Gazette, April 20, 1991.


 

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