Monday, April 26, 2010

By the Shores of Silver Lake Book Discussion - Wings over Silver Lake

The weather was growing colder and the skies were full of great birds. In the evening they came endlessly from the sky and settled on Silver Lake. At sunset the whole lake was covered with birds. There were geese, ducks of many kinds, herons, pelicans and cranes. The coming winter was driving them from north to south.

One day Pa came home with a swan. He hadn't realized what it was until after he shot it. Another day he brought home a pelican. Much to their dismay, its long bill was still full of dead fish. The smell penetrated everything, including the pelican's feathers. They found out all too quickly that pelicans weren't fit to eat. Every day Laura and Ma plucked feathers from the scalded skins of the ducks and geese that Pa brought home for dinner.

The wings and golden weather made Laura want to go somewhere. "Let's go west," she said one night after supper. Uncle Henry, Louisa, and Charley had earned enough money to head west. They had to first go back to the Big Woods to sell their farm. In the spring along with Aunt Polly, they were driving west to Montana. "Why can't we?" Laura asked. Pa had earned three hundred dollars and now they too had money.

"You and I want to fly like the birds," Pa said to Laura. "But long ago I promised your Ma that you girls should go to school. When this town is built there will be a school here. I'm going to get a homestead, Laura, and you girls are going to school." Another thing Pa went on to mention, "You know Ma was a teacher and her mother before her. Ma's heart is set on one of you girls teaching school and I guess it will have to be you Laura. So you see you must have your schooling."

Laura didn't say anything, but she didn't want to teach. Everyone had thought Mary would teach, but now she couldn't. Laura knew she couldn't disappoint Ma. She must do as Pa said. She had to be a teacher when she grew up.

Synopsis provided by Lorrie

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