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The novel 'Crow Lake' by Mary Lawson

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 1074 words Published: 5th May 2017

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The novel Crow Lake written by the talented Canadian novelist Mary Lawson has already attracted the readers’ attention not only in Canada but also in many other countries. This book was translated into many languages. Although it is one of the first works of Mary Lawson the novel Crow Lake has impressed the readers greatly.

From the title of the book we can see that this story takes place in Crow lake, a rather small farming community located in the northern part of Ontario. I think that the main idea of this book is to show the relationship between the characters who suffered greatly and completely changed their behavior and their relation to life.

The story shows the childhood and the adult life of the main characters whose life is closely connected with the ponds situated not far from their house. The main character of the book Kate Morrison tells a terrible story of her life.

Kate was 7 years old when her parents died in the car accident. Kate, her little sister Bo who was 1,5 years old and her brothers Luke and Matt who were much older than Kate became the orphans. They did not want to live separately after the terrible tragedy with their parents. The elder brothers Luke and Matt did everything they could to help their family to survive. Besides the community did not leave the poor little children without their help.

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The ponds played an important role not only in the life of Kate Morrison but also in the whole plot of the novel. May be that is why Mary Lawson, the author of the novel, chose the title of her book Crow Lake. I would like to analyze the significance of the ponds in the novel and make a conclusion.

The tragedy that takes place at the very beginning of the story had a serious influence on the children of Morrison family. It is a great psychological trauma for the children who loose the dearest people in their life – their parents. The childish tears, their rueful feelings and their journey down memory lane when they had their mother and father near them had a deep influence on the childish mind and the life perception.

Of course their strong desire to stay together as a family is one of the main points of the book. But I believe that the core of the novel is that Kate tries to find out what hinders her to be in good relations with Matt, her elder brother who always set her the example, who taught her love the ponds and the nature around. It is her struggle that which sets limits in her life and makes her hide feelings to Daniel, a young man who is dear to Kate.

The ponds in the novel are not merely a place around which some events occur. The ponds in the novel signify the more important and valuable sense: they show those close relations between a sister and a brother which are worth admiring. Moreover the ponds in the novel let us see the young years of Kate when she was innocent and did not understand those things which she realized later after Matt’s betrayal. Kate says, “By the following September the ponds themselves would have been desecrated twice over, as far as I was concerned, and for some years after that I did not visit them at all. And when I did, it was without Matt, and it was not the same” (Lawson 218)

Kate’s choice of her future career depended on the ponds in a way. She was afraid that the ponds would die and at the same time her recollections of her childhood would die too. She says, “I imagined myself going back to them one day in the future, looking into their depth and seeing … nothing”

No wonder the author gives priority to the ponds and the main characters of the novel Kate and Matt choose biology as their field of study. Matt explicated Kate many interesting ideas about the nature around and the life forms of the ponds during their numerous walks to the ponds. Kate learned many interesting things about the tadpoles of different types of frogs and the turtles, about the newts and the catfish, about the whirligigs and the water striders. She was so enthusiastic listening to Matt’s stories: “The interest which Matt had sparked in me had developed by then into a deeper curiosity, and that year I was noticing and wondering about things without being prompted” Therefore she decided to study biology in the University in Toronto and that was her right choice.

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Besides a great deal of beautiful descriptions of the ponds are given in the novel. I think they have a special role which is reflected in the title of the book. It is the author’s riddle which can be solved by the readers who are watching the course of the events in the novel attentively. I am sure Mary Lawson wants to show the readers of her novel that nature has a great impact on us. It not only gives us the opportunity to enjoy its beauty but it also helps us to overcome difficulties which occur in our life and to outwear sorrow as it was in the Kate and Matt’s case. Kate and Matt had a good time together at the ponds and they were happy. They tried not to think about their family tragedy, and watching the life forms in the pond they knew that they were the part of the Nature, the part of the Universe.

When we see the loss of relationship between Kate and Matt we feel pain at our hearts. Moreover Kate is such a person who is afraid of new close relations with Daniel because she does not want to have one more loss. She is afraid of setting her affections upon Daniel and puts her job and everything that is connected with it on the first place in her life.

Mary Lawson’s novel Crow Lake proves the fact that the ponds as a part of Nature helped a young girl Kate Morrison as well as her brothers and sister to survive after the tragedy in their family. Moreover the ponds became the part of her recollections connected with her childhood and with her elder brother Matt. And one more important conclusion is that the ponds put Kate on the right way in choosing her career of a biologist. Kate is sure that the ponds are the part of her life. She says, “There is no image of my childhood that I carry with me more clearly than that” (Lawson 4)

I think that every person should find such a place in his or her life given by the Universe which will help to overcome the hardships and the miseries of life and enjoy the happy moments of life with dear people.


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