In the Lake of the Woods

by Tim O’Brien

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In the first paragraph, how does Kathy feel as she heads past American Point and Buckete Island?

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In the paragraph that opens the novel In the Lake of the Woods, the author doesn't talk about how Kathy feels about passing American Point or Bukete Island, but how "they" (the author mentions no names in the paragraph, but the reader later finds out he is referring to Kathy and John Wade) rented a cottage in the middle of nowhere where "there were no roads at all" and "there were no towns and no people." The chapter is entitled "How Unhappy They Were" and the suggestion is that, after experiencing a tough time during the "primaries" (John had been running for senator), they have come for a well-earned rest.

They needed the solitude. They needed the repetition, the dense hypnotic drone of woods and water, but above all they needed to be together.

As the chapter continues, the reader learns that John and Kathy are trying desperately to forget the crushing loss of the election. Instead, they talk about buying a house and having children. They want to make love, but don't quite feel ready for it.

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