Learning Unit 9

1. Mobility equals survivor. They have to keep moving before it gets too cold. To be unable to move is to be trapped and to die.

2. The family is a unit in which everyone depends on the other to survive. Everybody has a job. Everybody has a purpose. If one dies, another must take their place.

3. Brett Harte describes family as a symbol of hope and survival. When the baby Thomas Luck is born, the family grows and brings hope that things will be alright and that they will survive. When the baby dies however, hope is lost and the family becomes smaller again. Brett Harte sees family and hope as synonymous.

4. Mobility serves as a symbol for survival in Harris’ poems. In “Cattle-Killing Winter”, the family is trying to reach their destination before it becomes too cold. If they stop moving they will die. “Avalanche” is similar in that being trapped equals lack of mobility. Lack of mobility equals death, as seen when the mother and the Reverend die at the end of the poem.

5. Snow, ice, cattle, railroads, starvation, tears, empty fields, lumber, oxen, creek, cabins, snow-covered trees, corns, rifles, mines, gold, corpses.

6. In my prompts, I see constant references to survival and death. This is important because life on the frontier was often a life-or-death scenario. Chances of survival were slim and the body count was high. The works we read about the frontier all have references to hopelessness and death, showing how unlikely survival was. I think this is why survival is such a constant theme.

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