What are some questions raised by the novel Canada by Richard Ford?

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Canada is a coming of age tale about a 16 year old boy named Dell Parson and his sister.  Dell is looking back on fateful events of his teen life, as an adult.

The first question raised by the novel is:  How can one event affect a person’s life? 

First, I'll tell you about the robbery our parents committed. Then about the murders, which happened later. The robbery is the more important part, since it served to set my and my sister's lives on the courses they eventually followed (ch 1, p. 3).

As the novel beings, Dell describes these fateful and troublesome events, a robbery and a murder, and we already know that they will have an effect on his life.

Another question the novel raises is:  How do people impact one another’s lives?

Dell comments that it was obvious what his mother saw in his father, but not what he saw in her.

But it was never completely obvious why he would take an interest in her — tiny (barely five feet), inward and shy, alienated, artistic, pretty only when she smiled and witty only when she felt completely comfortable. (p. 8)

This brings up the question of how the people who enter our lives make us who we are, as well as the events.  Dell is who he is because of who his parents are, and they are who they are partly because of each other.


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