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Teaching and Learning

Home  >  Teaching and Learning  >  Shopping for Porcupine  >  Discussion Questions
City Boy

Essay Summary:  Kantner writes notes to himself about the struggle of living in the city and trying to deal with technology failing in the sub-thirty-below temperatures.

Discussion Questions:

What do these "Writer's notes to self" reveal to readers?

Points to consider:

  • These are Kantner's struggles with the complications of living in the village. Mechanical things that won't work in the frigid temperatures bombard him.
  • Despite all the comforts of civilization (plumbing, electricity, and oil heat) the work is exasperating.

What is the irony of this essay when it closes with Kantner just wanting to sit down to write? (p. 185)

Points to consider:

  • All the technology is failing and when he gets everything fixed, the power goes out and he can't write using the computer.

Final Questions:

What do these notes reveal about the author as he struggles to adjust to city life in the arctic?

How does technology often fail us?

How is this life different from Kantner's life on the Kobuk River?

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