Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
#1 NATIONAL BESTSELLER SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother’s death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life. With no experience or training, driven only by blind will, she would hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State—and she would do it alone. Told with suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, Wild powerfully captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her. One of the Best Books of the Year: NPR, The Boston Globe, Entertainment Weekly, Vogue, St. Louis Dispatch This ebook edition includes a Reading Group Guide.
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Did you see the author's map of the Pacific Crest Trail (shown below) provided in the opening pages of the text? Refer back to the map as you read to gain more insight into the author's whereabouts. (This annotation contains an image)
Based on the evidence provided in this paragraph, what does the author mean when she says "People like my mother did not get cancer"?
Notice how the author uses flashback here... Watch the following video on flashback to gain more insight into this device, and pay attention to how the author utilizes this technique throughout her book. (This annotation contains a video)
The author's name is Cheryl Strayed, so consdider her line "I was Karen, Cheryl, Leif." Evaluate the context clues and identify Karen and Leif.
Did you know that you can look up any word in the text of the book or the text of the questions and answers? Just click (or press on mobile devices) the word you want to define and hold until the blue text selector pops up. When you release, a define option will appear. Since it's so easy to look up words, make sure you use this feature frequently. Is there a word on this page you need to look up?
Knowing that the author will ultimately hike eleven hundred miles of the Pacific Crest Trail, what might be the author's purpose for including this highlighted paragraph in the first chapter of her book?
To whom or what does the word "their" refer in the line "I'd see their beauty"?
What do the highlighted details suggest about the relationship between Cheryl and her mother?
Anaphora is a type of repetition that occurs when an author repeats the same word or phrase in successive clauses. Do you see the anaphora in the highlighted paragraph? What is the effect of this stylistic choice?
The author's inclusion of her mother saying goodbye to her dogs, as well as the description of helping her mother leave the house, seems to suggest that
A metaphor occurs when an author compares two unlike things, such as in the highlighted line comparing her mother to a "mad dog." A simile occurs when the author compares two unlike things using the words "like" or "as." Watch for the author's use of metaphor and simile as you continue to read.
Identify the literary technique present in the highlighted line.
Achillea millefolium is a flower commonly called "yarrow." The picture below shows with a "field of yarrow" looks like. (This annotation contains an image)
Summarize what Cheryl's mother wanted her to understand here. What does her mother's response to Cheryl's feelings of frustration reveal about her mother's character and personality?
Knowing that Leif has been avoiding seeing his mother all this time, are you surprised to learn that he was likely avoiding a visit because of his feelings of grief and sadness?
What literary devices does the author employ to highlight her grief and intense feelings of loss?
The Bridge of the Gods, shown below, allows hikers traveling on the Pacific Crest Trail to cross the Columbia River. (This annotation contains an image)
The details included in the highlighted paragraph suggest that the author
O.J. Simpson was a former professional football player who, in 1995, was on trial for murder. Why do you think the author includes this reference? (This annotation contains an image)
The author's comments about her experience backpacking suggest which of the following about her narrative point of view?
The author's use of the word "think" is an example of onomatopoeia. Onomatopoeia occurs when a word is used to reflect a particular sound.
What does the author imply with the simile comparing her "old life" to " a "bruise"?
Read the following poem "I Measure Every Grief I Meet" by American poet Emily Dickinson. In what way(s) might this poem connect with the author's experience in trying to cope with her mother's death? (This annotation contains a link)
Refer to the previous annotation to read Emily Dickinson's poem "I Measure Every Grief I Meet." Summarize the poem and identify how this poem connects with Strayed's experience in coping with her mother's grief.
Watch the following video on figurative language, and identify how the author utilizes this strategy in the highlighted paragraph. (This annotation contains a video)
What emerging themes or central ideas are specifically emphasized in this highlighted paragraph?
The fact that Strayed considered moving to Ashland because "I'd heard good things about the town" emphasizes which of the following about her life at this point?
Ashland is a town located just north of the California border in Oregon. (This annotation contains an image)
Identify one of the likely reasons the the author goes into such great detail describing her struggle with the backpack.
Part Two. Tracks
Notice how the author opens all of her chapters with quote(s) from other writers or works. Choose one of the excerpts on this page and evaluate why the author may have decided to include this reference. In what way(s) does the excerpt connect to Strayed's text?
What does the author mean by the line "It was bliss" in the context of the highlighted passage?
Tehachapi Pass is a mountain pass crossing the Tehachapi Mountains in California. (This annotation contains an image)
This is a rather funny moment wherein the author admits her lack of understanding of the difficulties of hiking. What do you think she should have done to better prepare for this intense and enormous endeavor?
The author provides the reader with the background information in the highlighted paragraph using which of the following techniques?
What is significant about this highlighted detail? Why do you think the author separates the line "Then we shot it" from the preceding paragraph?
Evaluate the ways in which Strayed has chosen to "escape" from her life. Why does the author choose to include these troubling details in her memoir?
What is your reaction to Paul and Cheryl's relationship?
Which statement best summarizes Cheryl's motivation for hiking the PCT?
Watch the following video on symbolism. What might Cheryl's backpack symbolize, both in this scene as well as in the motel scene when she struggled to bear the weight of it? (This annotation contains a video)
What "worst thing" has already happened to Cheryl prior to her hike?
Click the link below to read the poem "Power" by Adrienne Rich which focuses on the Nobel Prize-winning scientist, Marie Curie. Why did Cheryl read this poem "again and again and again"? (This annotation contains a link)
Refer to the previous annotation to read the poem "Power" by Adrienne Rich. Summarize the poem in your own words and evaluate how this poem applies to Cheryl. Provide at least two specific examples from each text to support your response.
Using the context clues, what can you infer the term "scat" likely means?
Consider these contrasting metaphors between mind and body. What does Strayed mean by these comparisons?
Take a moment to consider the rough physical effects that Cheryl experiences on just the third day of her journey. What else do you think can (or will) happen to her as she continues?
Consider why the author chose to include the details in the highlighted paragraph. Which of the following most likely reflects her purpose here?
What literary technique does the author employ to describe her hunger here?
Which do you think is the bigger struggle for Cheryl at this point: the emotional or the physical challenges? Why?
Refer to the previous annotation to watch the video clip of the film adaptation of Wild. Compare the written memoir to the clips shown in the preview. What seems emphasized and/or absent in the film clip? How does your own interpretation of the text compare to the brief clips from the film adaptation? Provide specific examples to support your response.
What do you picture as the author describes these detailed moments? In 2014, actress Reese Witherspoon starred in the film adaptation of Strayed's memoir. Watch the following video clip which shows scenes from the movie as well as interview commentary from Witherspoon, Strayed, and the director. Does the imagery shown in the film adaptation align with what you have imagined thus far? (This annotation contains a video)
Going off the trail is an incredibly risky and dangerous choice. What would you have done in this situation?
What does Frank's observation about the pack's weight highlight?
Why does Cheryl lie here?
Cheryl often feels anxious and nervous around Frank. Based on his actions and words, which of the following best characterizes his personality thus far?
This is the second time Cheryl has lied in the last few pages. Initially she lies to Frank about hiking with her husband. Here, she chooses to lie about her degree. What might motivate Cheryl to lie to seemingly honest, kind, and helpful people?
What does Cheryl mean when she says "like him"? Are Cheryl and this man really all that different?
POW/MIA refers to Prisoner of War/Missing in Action. The first bracelets were first created in 1970 to show that American prisoners of war would not be forgotten; each bracelet is stamped with the name, rank, service, loss date, and country of loss of a person from the Vietnam War. (This annotation contains an image)
Examine the highlighted line and consider the author's purpose for including this detail. What other details and events show that the people Cheryl has encountered since the start of her hike seem to be kind, supportive, and helpful?
Continue to consider the possibility of symbolism as you read. Examine the highlighted passages... Could any of these details or actions carry symbolic significance?
Identify the author's purpose for including the details of the weather on the trail in the highlighted paragraphs.
Cheryl is coping with an array of internal and external conflicts on this journey. Watch the following video on internal and external conflicts, and consider the types of conflicts she confronts in the highlighted paragraph. (This annotation contains a video)
Identify one of the central ideas from this paragraph that is also a central idea from the text as a whole thus far. How has this idea been presented throughout the memoir up until this point? How do you expect this idea to change or evolve as you read?
This is quite a surprise! What is your reaction to hearing a stranger speak Cheryl's name on the trail?
What word could accurately replace the word "kin" as it is used in the context of this sentence?
What does Greg mean when he tells Cheryl that she's "green"?
The picture below shows a small glimpse of Kennedy Meadows. (This annotation contains an image)
Refer to the previous annotation to read the excerpt from Thoreau's famous text Walden. Summarize, in your own words, Thoreau's motivation and purpose for living in the woods. Next, summarize Strayed's purpose for hiking the PCT. In what way(s) are their motivations similar or different? Provide at least one example from each text to support your analysis.
As you continue to read, pay attention to the rich imagery and descriptive details. Strayed is certainly not the first person to feel "called" to explore nature. Read the following excerpt from American writer Henry David Thoreau's famous text Walden, wherein he describes his motivation for choosing to live away from civilization in the woods of Concord, Massachusetts. (This annotation contains a link)
As I Lay Dying is a novel written by the American author William Faulkner (published in 1930).
What does the highlighted detail suggest about Strayed's character?
Notice the symbolic significance of Cheryl choosing her new name. Read the definitions of the word "strayed" (provided by the author). Why is this name so appropriate for her?
Although Cheryl's divorce from Paul is primarily an external conflict, in what way is choosing to go through with the divorce also an internal conflict?
Evaluate how the author reveals the details of her divorce. In what order does she convey the events to the reader? How does her ordering of events (including the use of flashback) create an emotional effect?
Are you surprised by how cordial and loving Cheryl and Paul are to one another?
Observe how Paul's last words to Cheryl mirror this new stranger's first words to Cheryl. Why did the author choose to structure her words in this way?
What does Joe mean when he says, "I want to be your clean boyfriend someday"?
Considering both this note as well as the behavior of people Cheryl has met along the trail thus far, which of the following best describes the overall attitude towards hikers on the PCT?
Are you surprised no one bet on Cheryl? What does this tell you about her abilities and character?
The author changed one of the character's names here... The "real" Greg is actually named Roger Carpenter. You can view a picture of Roger (on the right) along with Ed (on the left) below: (This annotation contains an image)
In what way might Cheryl's ability to burn the parts of her books that she has finished reading a symbol of her emotional progress on this hike? Consider how Cheryl admits "It hurt to do it, but it had to be done." What does she mean by this?
Consider, once again, the symbolic aspect of Cheryl's pack. In what way is the weight significant on a figurative level?
What is significant about Cheryl's ability to offer advice here?
Ray Jardine, shown below, is an American rock climber who, along with Bill Price, was the first to free climb the West Face of El Capitan in Yosemite Valley. (This annotation contains an image)
What does Cheryl's admission that she feels "flattered" reveal about her here?
Why does Doug give Cheryl the feather? What might this represent?
On the first day of her hike, Cheryl declined to accept help with her pack. Here, she's accepting help from her fellow hikers. What does this suggest about her personal growth on this journey?
Evaluate Cheryl's motivation and purpose for telling Albert her true motivation for hiking the PCT. Furthermore, what is the author's purpose in telling you about this group of men that she met on the trail? Provide at least two specific examples to support your response.
Cheryl sounds willing to accept the fact that, in some cases, relationships with people are not permanent. In what way might this lesson help her to heal and grieve the loss of her marriage and loss of her mother?
The phrase "Range of Light" was written by Scottish-American naturalist and writer John Muir, derived from the following passage: "After ten years spent in the heart of it, rejoicing and wondering, bathing in its glorious floods of light, seeing the sunbursts of morning among the icy peaks, the noonday radiance on the trees and rocks and snow, the flush of alpenglow, and a thousand dashing waterfalls with their marvelous abundance of irised spray, it still seems to me above all others the Range of Light."
Identify one disadvantage to reading the text from Cheryl's first person point of view as our narrator.
Consider Cheryl's conflict here... Is it internal, external, or both? What do you think of her insistence on hiking alone?
What does Cheryl's sudden ability to fall into a "deep sleep" after her conversation with Doug suggest?
Because we are totally reliant upon Cheryl as our first person narrator, we are limited in our understand of other characters' thoughts and feelings as we read Cheryl's story. Are you ever curious as to what some of these other men might be thinking? Take a look at the following article, written from the first person point of view of Greg (whose real name is Roger). In the article he shares his own memories, thoughts, and interactions from his time hiking both alone and with Cheryl. (This annotation contains a link)
Take a moment to evaluate Cheryl's conflicts here. Identify at least one internal and one external conflict at this point. Which conflict seems to be more significant and why?
This is quite a unique dialogue between Cheryl and a stranger. In what way does this interaction shape your understanding of the symbolic nature of the feather?
What does Cheryl's willingness to stick with Greg despite the current struggle to find a ride suggest?
The picture below shows the small downtown area of Sierra City. (This annotation contains an image)
Consider the author's use of structure and detail up until this moment when she first looks in the mirror. Why is the reader--like Cherly--able to feel surprised by her appearance?
Aside from telling the reader of her financial constraints, what is the author's purpose in providing the details regarding "matching Greg's every move" in this scene?
Cheryl is likely referring to the poster image shown below. (This annotation contains an image)
Identify the "one question I [Cheryl] hadn't asked" her mother.
Why does the author continue to tie in this reference to the image of the Milky Way? What is the effect of this reference?
Why might the author recall her mother's words in this moment? Her mother clearly felt incredibly deep love and affection for each of her children... Do you think it is important that Cheryl also finds that same type of feelings of love for her own self?
Less than a month into her journey, Cheryl is able to recognize that, already, "everything in me felt altered." Identify three specific events or experiences on her journey thus far that have contributed to Cheryl's gradual transformation.
Watch the following video on imagery and consider how the author incorporates imagery into the highlighted paragraph. (This annotation contains a video)
How does the author convey the significance of her external struggle in the highlighted paragraph?
What do you think of Cheryl's resolve here? Do you ever find some of the risks she chooses to take to be foolish? Why or why not?
Evaluate Cheryl's motivation for continuing to hike despite the many dangers she faces here. What flaws do you see in her argument for proceeding forward instead of turning back to Sierra City?
The image below shows the type of fox that Cheryl likely saw in this scene. (This annotation contains an image)
Cheryl seems to suddenly recall her mother when watching the fox. Identify the most likely explanation as to why Cheryl shouts "MOM! MOM! MOM! MOM!" when the fox runs away from her.
Read the following poem, "The Road Not Taken," by American writer Robert Frost. How does Frost's poem apply both literally and figuratively to Cheryl's circumstance here? (This annotation contains a link)
Refer to the previous annotation to read Robert Frost's poem "The Road Not Taken." In what way does Frost's poem apply to Cheryl's choice(s) on her hike? What central theme do both Frost and Strayed highlight in their writing?
Which of the following best characterizes Christine's treatment towards Cheryl?
Although Cheryl tells us her story from her first person point of view, it is still important for us, as readers, to interpret her various choices and emotions. What does her admission that she would "stay" with this family tell you about her deep feelings of loneliness and isolation?
Why didn't Cheryl take her mother's favorite books? How do you think she feels about this choice?
What causes Cheryl to feel "paralyzed with regret"?
The memoir focuses primarily on Cheryl's emotions and feelings, however, take a moment to consider things from Eddie's point of view. It sounds as though he truly loved Cheryl's mother and her children. Do you think he is feeling as devastated as Cheryl at their immense loss?
The highlighted phrase is an example of an idiom. An idiom is is a phrase that has a figurative meaning that differs from its literal meaning. What does Cheryl's mother's idiom mean? How does this idiom apply to Cheryl's memory of Eddie after her mother's death?
What stands out as strikingly different when considering Cheryl's interactions with this couple compared to everyone else she has encountered since the start of her hike?
Are you surprised by this couple's response to Cheryl? What would you do if you were in this situation?
How does the author seamlessly tie in the flashback to her mother's horse in this paragraph?
What do you think Cheryl means when she says, "Horses were my mother's religion"?
Can you imagine being forced to deal with this incredible emotional challenge? Consider the theme(s) emerging with these memories of Lady.
One of the central themes in the memoir is certainly loss: the loss of Cheryl's mother, the loss of her family, the loss of her marriage, and so forth. In addition to this theme, what other theme seems to be present in this scene regarding the discussion of Lady?
Evaluate how the author intertwines flashbacks of both Lady and her mother in the highlighted paragraph. What is the purpose of her including Lady's death in her memoir, and what is the effect of her arranging the series of events and flashbacks in this unique manner?
What might Cheryl's dreams tell you about her mental and emotional state here? Do you think she's growing, evolving, and healing on her hike? Why or why not?
Observe how, just one page ago, we were immersed in the deeply emotional memory of the death of Lady intertwined with memories of Cheryl's mother's death. Yet, here we are, back on the trail again, confronting the external obstacles and challenges of Cheryl's journey. Why do you think the author arranges her writing in this manner? What is the effect of this structure?
Recall the annotation from Chapter Six of the lines written by Henry David Thoreau, recalling his motivation for living in the woods (as expressed in his text Walden). Which of the following lines, written by Thoreau, mirrors Cheryl's experience in the highlighted paragraph?
Which of the following details suggest the firefighters' shock and awe at Cheryl's decision to hike the PCT alone?
Haile Selassie, shown below, was Ethiopia's regent from 1916 to 1930 and Emperor of Ethiopia from 1930 to 1974. (This annotation contains an image)
View Lassen Peak in the image below. (This annotation contains an image)
The highlighted line is an example of an exclamatory sentence (a sentence that ends with an exclamation point). Exclamatory sentences are used to emphasize emotions and are often used to convey more powerful feelings. What is the purpose of Cheryl's use of the exclamatory sentence here?
The line "Waves of pleasure" shows an example of
Use the dictionary tool to look up the meaning of "talisman." What do you think Cheryl means when she calls Greg "a talisman"?
What is significant about the fact that Cheryl has "not cried once since I'd set foot on the trail"? In what ways is the journey and her experience on the PCT helping Cheryl to cope with the immense sadness and loss in her past?
What might Cheryl's wish be? Why don't you think she tells us what her wish is?
Part Four. Wild
Consider the author's references here... Which one, in particular, stands out to you?
Considering this man's background as well as his desire to talk to Cheryl, what does the man assume about Cheryl?
Watch the following video on denotations and connotations. Cheryl continues to insist that she's on the "trail" not the "road." What is the difference in connotations between the words "trail" and "road"? Why is this distinction so important to Cheryl? (This annotation contains a video)
The word "hobo" refers to a migratory worker or someone who is without a home (and who is generally penniless). Why does this man insist on referring to Cheryl as a "hobo"?
Watch the following clip from the movie version of Wild. In the clip, the director, Jean-Marc Vallée, provides commentary on the details of the shots, light, and overall direction of the scene. How does Jean-Marc Vallée's portrayal of this scene compare to what you are reading here in Strayed's memoir? (This annotation contains a video)
Refer to the previous annotation to watch the clip of this "hobo scene" from the film adaptation of Wild. What is emphasized and/or absent in the film version compared to Strayed's original text? Provide a specific example from both the film clip and Strayed memoir to support your comparison.
Examine the details provided... Why might Cheryl feel "a blurry uncertainty" about getting in the car with this couple?
In what way do you think Cheryl can relate to the story of the apes drawing pictures of the bars on their cage?
The detail regarding Luke undoubtedly ties in with the central theme of loss... What do you think Cheryl will learn from hearing about the loss of this couple's child?
Why does the author include her conversation with this woman, and what is significant about Cheryl learning that this couple lost a son? How does this tie in to the central themes and purpose of Strayed's text?
It sounds as though Cheryl is able to come to terms with her own strengths and desires as she continues on this journey. What, specifically, do you think allows Cheryl to realize this part of herself here?
Examine the connotations in the highlighted lines. Which word and connotation suggest that Cheryl is nervous to call Paul?
Part of Cheryl's journey involves her learning to forgive herself for things she feels have been errors or wrongs in her life. Do you think she is learning to forgive herself?
Visit the following website to read excerpts from Henry David Thoreau's chapter titled "Solitude" (from Walden). In your opinion, which excerpt most aptly applies to Cheryl's feelings at the end of this chapter? (This annotation contains a link)
Refer to the previous annotation to read the excerpts from Thoreau's chapter titled "Solitude" (from Walden). Choose one of Thoreau's excerpts and summarize his statement in your own words. Next, explain how this particular statement applies to Cheryl's feelings or attitude at the close of this chapter.
Although Cheryl is growing more skilled and strong, it seems as though the external conflicts and challenges of nature continue to humble her. What, in your opinion, would be the most difficult external struggle if you were on Cheryl's journey?
How does the author add emphasis to the dangers of her dwindling water supply?
Evaluate the author's punctuation here... Why does she delete the spacing from the words "no water"? What is the effect of this choice?
What does the reminder of Albert's sickness from a waterborne illness serve to inform the reader?
Watch the following video clip wherein the author discusses this moment with the frogs in an interview with Oprah Winfrey. Are you surprised to learn that Cheryl was more terrified by the frogs than any other animal encounter on her journey? (This annotation contains a link)
What lesson might Cheryl be able to learn from the store clerk's willingness to sell her the Snapple at a discount as well as from REI's willingness to mail her new boots free of charge?
Evaluate Cheryl's varying emotions in the highlighted paragraph. Why does she feel both "sickened by it and envious"? Why does Cheryl include this moment in her memoir, and what does this tell you about her overall growth and progress on this journey so far?
Burney Falls, shown below, were called "the Eighth Wonder of the World" by President Theodore Roosevelt and were declared a National Natural Landmark in 1984. (This annotation contains an image)
Just like in the moment when she observed the couple interacting with the squirrel--just a few pages back--Cheryl's emotions shift and change quickly and often without warning. Do you ever experience this in your own life?
How does Pat emphasize Cheryl's need to heal the "wounds" from her father?
What inspires Cheryl to put on her "stupid sandals" and begin the hike to Castle Crags? In what way(s) does her decision to continue hiking connect with Cheryl's relationship with her abusive father?
Reflecting on what Cheryl has gained on her journey in nature so far, do you agree or disagree that the wilderness can provide "a lasting curative and civilizing value"?
Yet another external conflict arises... How do you think Cheryl will cope with this new challenge?
In what way is the reader limited by the first person point of view in this paragraph?
Evaluate the connotations associated with the word "bitter." Why does the author choose this word here?
How does the author emphasize her mother's emotions in the highlighted lines?
What might be the author's purpose in including such specific details here?
What does the carving into her family's old table symbolize? What does Leif mean when he says that he nor Cheryl would carve their name into a table "'Because we were raised by Mom"?
Reflect on the significance and potential symbolic nature of the Bob Marley shirt. Why has Cheryl grown so attached to it?
What recurring theme is, once again, highlighted as Cheryl admits she does not know what road she is on?
Understanding some of Cheryl's external struggles, what else would you want to send to her in one of her resupply boxes?
Evaluate the connotations in the highlighted paragraph. Which of the following words serves to highlight the overall happy and joyful mood here?
Cheryl proclaims she'd been hiking "for days" before she entered "her idea" of the Sierra Nevada. Take a look at a picture of the Sierra Nevada below; is this what you had pictured or imagined? (This annotation contains an image)
Cheryl admits that part of her journey is "metaphorical." In what way is the author's journey on the PCT a metaphor? Provide at least two specific examples to support your response.
Why does Cheryl proclaim "I'm the bigfoot!"?
What is your interpretation of Cheryl's dream? Do you think it is a "foreboding sign" or a potential symbol?
Examine the connotations in the highlighted paragraph. Which of the following words most effectively contributes to the negative mood in his scene?
Why do you think the author includes this story about the Rainbow Gathering? What might be her purpose with this?
Why does the author add punctuation after each word in the line "I. Need. Food!"? What is the effect of this syntactical technique?
Why does Cheryl feel "stung" here? What connotation does the word "stung" carry?
What does Cheryl discover about fear, and what does she mean by the line "by now I'd come far enough that I had the guts to be afraid"? Provide at least two examples to support your response.
Consider Cheryl's many encounters with animals during her hike. Why does she tell you about these encounters? Do you think they might occasionally serve a symbolic purpose?
"Red River Valley" is a folk song with uncertain origins. You can listen to a clip of the song, performed by Woody Guthrie, by clicking the link below. (This annotation contains a video)
What might the gift of the peach, the song "Red River Valley," and the azaleas symbolize?
Continue to consider the author's purpose... Why does she want you to read about this moment between herself and the deer?
The final paragraphs of this chapter seem to highlight a major turning point - internally - for Cheryl. What does the author learn or realize in this moment, and how does she utilize figurative language to convey this discovery to the reader?
Watch the following video on foreshadowing. Do you think Cheryl's sudden loss of her bracelet is a sign of something "trouble ahead"? (This annotation contains a video)
Why might the author repeat the word "Oregon" and add italics to the final repetition of the word?
Jerry Garcia, an American musician famous for his lead guitar work, singing and songwriting with the band the Grateful Dead, is hailed as one of the best guitar players of all time. (This annotation contains an image)
Examine the highlighted sentence. How does the author emphasize her feelings of frustration regarding her lack of funds here?
Kewpie is a brand of dolls and figurines (shown below) based on Rose O'Neill's comic strip characters in 1909. (This annotation contains an image)
The author herself, as well as two other strangers now, have misread the necklace to read the word "starved." In what ways is Cheryl both literally and figuratively starved on this journey? Provide at least two examples to support your explanation.
Visit the following webpage to read the lyrics to the song "Box of Rain." In what way(s) might these lyrics apply to Cheryl's life? (This annotation contains a link)
Evaluate this social scene and Cheryl's desire to remain at this celebration instead of going back to her room or to hike off alone. Identify one of the major personal changes that Cheryl has experienced on this journey, as particularly evident in this chapter.
What do the highlighted details suggest about Cheryl here?
Why does Cheryl suddenly question her appearance here? What causes her sudden shift towards insecurity and self-criticism?
In what way does Cheryl "know what you mean" when she responds to Clyde here? What common understanding might they both share?
What do you think of Cheryl's decisions in this chapter? Are you relieved she decides to spit out the root?
Cheryl's exchange with Clyde is relatively short and seemingly insignificant to the overall plot of her memoir. Why do you think she chose to tell the reader about this encounter?
Why might the reader be surprised to learn that Cheryl "regretted" not bringing Monster with her here?
Why might Cheryl wonder about the PCT in this moment?
Why does it take Cheryl a moment to "realize I was telling the truth"? Do you think Cheryl has become a more "honest" person on this journey? Why or why not?
Crater Lake, shown below, is a caldera lake. A caldera is a cauldron-like volcanic feature that typically forms from land collapsing after a volcanic eruption. (This annotation contains an image)
What is significant about Cheryl writing Paul's name in the sand "for the last time"?
Why do you think Cheryl feels reluctant to leave Ashland here? Furthermore, how do you think she will feel as she nears the end of her journey?
Why is it significant that Cheryl asserts that this man does not call her "baby"?
Analyze what the author means by this highlighted line. Identify one specific way in which California has "altered" Cheryl's "vision" as well as one specific way in which Oregon has "shifted it again."
Mount Shasta is a potentially active volcano and is the fifth highest peak in California. Take a look at the aerial view of Shasta shown below. (This annotation contains an image)
Take a moment to reflect on the last time the author has mentioned her mother... It has been a significant amount of time since her previous mention or discussion of her. What does this suggest about Cheryl's growth or emotional state?
What is the main content or subject of this long list?
The Kübler-Ross model, commonly called "the five stages of grief," is a list of emotional stages commonly experienced by someone when a loved one dies. The five stages are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. What stage(s) do you think Cheryl is experiencing here?
Why does the author repeat the line "She did. She did. She did"?
How has hiking the PCT helped Cheryl to come to terms with her grief over the loss of her mother? Provide at least three examples to support your analysis.
Why do you think Cheryl feels both "riveted and appalled" here?
What might this "empty bowl" symbolize for Cheryl?
What does the connotation "hopscotch" suggest about Cheryl's perception of hiking Oregon?
Polysyndeton occurs when an author uses several conjunctions in close succession. Notice how the author uses the conjunction "and" in the highlighted lines... Why does the author employ polysyndeton here and what is the effect?
To what is Cheryl referring when she declares "it was my own domain"?
What do you think Cheryl's trail name should be?
Identify the literary device employed in the highlighted line.
What might motivate Cheryl to "respond" to the owl here? Why does she tell this to the reader?
Consider Cheryl's planning and preparation prior to starting her hike on the PCT. What factors should she have considered that she overlooked? What would you recommend as important items to prepare for or consider to someone before they embark on this journey?
Cheryl has certainly encountered many physical complications on this journey, but what do you think she would have done if she had endured a serious injury, such as broken or twisted ankle? How would she have sought help?
Cheryl's ability to help these fellow hikers signifies
Evaluate the details provided in the highlighted passage. What word best describes how Cheryl likely feels about these two men?
Do you think Cheryl's nervousness around these men was "a little bit silly" or are her feelings justified? Consider the evidence provided to determine your opinion.
How does the author convey her feelings of fear in the highlighted line?
Consider Cheryl's moments of "luck" along the trail. Would you agree that she also happened to be "lucky" on this journey?
What contributes to the sudden shift in mood from the end of Chapter Seventeen to the opening lines of Chapter Eighteen?
The highlighted line shows another example of polysyndeton, evident through the author's repetition of the conjunction "and." What is the effect of this literary device here?
The highlighted line conveys yet another example of which of the following lessons that Cheryl has likely learned on the trail?
Why do you think the author admits this? Do these types of admissions make her more reliable as a narrator?
Cheryl admits many intimate details from her thoughts and past experiences. What is your perception of her as your narrator? Do you find her reliable or unreliable? Provide at least three specific examples to support your analysis.
What do you think of Cheryl's overall trusting nature with the strangers that she meets? Do you agree or disagree with some of her choices to hang out with the "friends" she meets along her journey?
What do you imagine these "meaningful expressions" looked like? What was conveyed through these "expressions"?
How does the author add emphasis to the speaker's words in the highlighted dialogue?
Watch the following video on how characters develop. Consider Cheryl's development over the course of the text... In what ways has she changed and grown? (This annotation contains a video)
Refer to the previous annotation to watch the video on how characters develop. Identify one specific way in which Cheryl has grown or changed over the course of the text. What factors contributed to this change? Provide specific examples to support your response.
Do you recall Doug from Cheryl's early start of the journey? How do you think she feels to see him again?
What detail from the highlighted dialogue suggests that both Doug and Cheryl are happy to see each other?
What words best describe Cheryl's feelings towards Eddie in the highlighted lines?
Did you notice that this book title is also the title of the final chapter in Cheryl's memoir? The book contains poems written by Adrienne Rich from 1974-1977.
Examine the author's use of imagery and description here. What words and details stand out as the most powerful to you in this passage?
What do you think is "released" in this moment? What has Cheryl finally learned or realized?
The Columbia River, shown below, is the largest river in the Pacific Northwest in North America. (This annotation contains an image)
Refer to the highlighted excerpt. How does the author emphasize her plans after completing the hike?
Visit the following website to view five poems written by Adrienne Rich, author of The Dream of a Common Language. Which poem most strikingly connects to Cheryl and her journey? (This annotation contains a link)
Visit the webpage provided in the previous annotation to read one of the five poems written by Adrienne Rich. Select a poem and identify how that poem connects to Cheryl and her journey. Why do you think Cheryl chooses to conclude her memoir with a reference to Rich's anthology of poetry?