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Home  >  Teaching and Learning  >  Shopping for Porcupine  >  Discussion Questions
Good-Bye Our Season

Essay Summary:  A eulogy to his dear friend Michio. Kantner captures Michio in his element. He tells the story of how a Russian bear killed Michio, and illustrates his deep respect and sadness for the loss of the famous photographer.

Discussion Questions:

How does Kantner's loss of Michio feel to a reader who didn't know him?

Points to consider:

  • Kantner captures this loss so well, and paints such a pure profile of the photographer that readers can't help but feel his loss.

Why does Kantner choose to include Michio's joke about being a satellite bull? (p. 121)

Points to consider:

  • This anecdote shows Michio's sense of humor and his ability to teach and share his knowledge of nature with others.
  • The story also helps establish the news of whom Michio left behind, a wife and baby boy.

What does the story about Michio, his rice, and photographing the caribou herd reveal about both Michio and Kantner? (p. 122-123)

Points to consider:

  • Kantner's attention to details allows him to create images that help the readers see Michio in action.
  • The story reveals Michio's passion for his subjects and his love for animals and the light.

At the end of the essay, as Kantner continues to mourn the loss of his friend, how does his shift in addressing Michio reveal the depth of his sorrow? (p. 124)

Points to consider:

  • He questions why Michio was in a tent and not a cabin like the others, with a tone of disbelief or anger, and questions why the six men could not scare off the attacking bear.

Why does he say that the land does not miss "anyone," but "if it did" it would miss Michio?  (p. 124)

Points to consider:

  • Here Kantner is explaining how the land does not recognize individual humans, but if the land could miss a person it would miss Michio and his appreciation for wilderness and the animals.

Final Questions:

How might Michio's death alter Kantner's approach to photography?

What character traits did Michio have that made him successful as a photographer and beloved as a friend?

Like Harry, the Inupiaq postman, Michio had an impact on Kantner. Why do you think he chose to include this personal essay in the book?

This is the only essay in the book that shifts in point-of-view to the 2nd person, where Kantner addresses "you" who is Michio and at the same time the reader. Is this a successful shift?

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