The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon begins by transporting Trisha McFarland from her familiar urban surroundings to the Maine wilderness, and the dangers of that shift are clear from the first sentence. In fact, King, who is thoroughly grounded in the American literary tradition, quickly immerses both Trisha and his readers into a typically American landscape, where he confronts his human protagonist with a seemingly endless and hostile wilderness.
Like many characters in classic American literature, Trisha discovers that Nature is much more complex than she first imagined. Worried initially about her situation, she tries "not to let herself think. This is serious, this is very serious. Trying not to think that sometimes when people got lost in the woods they got seriously hurt. Sometimes they died." Certainly King does not minimize the dangers of untamed nature, for Trisha experiences a violent thunderstorm her first night in the woods; she is bitten by mosquitoes and stung by wasps; she experiences severe hunger and thirst once she has consumed the contents of her sack lunch; she is tracked by what is either a fully grown North American black bear or a horrible monster; and she finally contracts pneumonia, which leaves her wracked with fever, chills, and what may well be hallucinations. Even without possible supernatural explanations for what happens to her, Nature is presented here as unfriendly to individuals who are unfamiliar with it.
(The entire section is 1374 words.)
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