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Teaching and Learning

Home  >  Teaching and Learning  >  Shopping for Porcupine  >  Discussion Questions

Essay Summary:  Cramped in a snow cave, Kantner reveals how the darkness of the arctic winter is both a friend and an enemy.

Discussion Questions:

How is it possible that Kantner considers sixteen below as "not cold" while camped in a snow cave? (p. 141)

Points to consider:

  • Sixteen below during an arctic winter is relatively mild. Temperatures of thirty or forty below zero are quite normal.

Darkness is a  "price to be paid" for what? (p. 141)

Points to consider:

  • The long summer days of sunshine.
  • Life in the arctic

How might the darkness of a snow cave in winter make you go crazy without a watch? (p. 142)

Points to consider:

  • The darkness and the inability to know day from night creates confusion and time can stop or race by, one has no way of knowing.

Why does he capitalize the "D" in darkness at the end of the essay? (p. 142)

Points to consider:

  • The darkness has a life of its own and is a friend and an enemy, so he's naming it like a person and recognizing the relationship he has with Darkness.

Final Questions:

What does this brief essay about arctic darkness add to this collection of essays?

How do the bull moose fighting outside the snow cave serve as a watch of sorts, to help Kantner keep track of the time?

Why is it that winter darkness affects some more than others? How does Kantner find solace in the winter darkness?

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