ENG215 Study Notes
Eden Robinson “Traplines”
Synopsis: Narrator goes fishing with Dad and catch valuable fish that will earn them their
Christmas money. Parents leave and Eric get high and violent and Will escapes to the home
of Mr and Mrs Smythe. Becomes apparent that this is a regular thing.
Main narrator (Will)
Narrators Dad – Abusive father though only towards Eric, drunkard as well.
Eric – Narrators Brother who is abusive/violent towards him, heavy drug user.
Narrators Mom – Spends the majority of her apperance in the novel drunk.
Mrs. Smythe – Narrator consistently refers to her, his English teacher, wants to adopt
Mr Smythe - Mrs Smythe husband, a friend he hangs out with. Wants to adopt Will.
Instability of home/family
Social class conflicts, and what happens when trying to move between them.
Inability/unwillingness to change.
Being trapped,caught, inability to move
Madeleine Thein “Simple Recipes”
Synopsis: Narrator recounts her fascination with her father and his work in the kitchen, she
views him as a “magician”, revealing much of the closeness she felt to him. Intermingled is
the common story of the time her father prepared fish and her brother refused to eat it and
the fight between her father and brother turned physical, which led to the physical discipline
of her brother and her brother not coming out of bed. At the end she circles back to her
father making rice and the fish dying in the sink.
Role of food
Importance of family
Fulfilment of roles
David Bezmozgis “The Second Strongest Man”
Synopsis: Son and his family now living in Canada from from the Soviet Union. Father gets
invited to be a judge at the International Weightlifting Championships at the Toronto
Convention Centre. There for the competition are his former student, and his old friend. Son
shows Sergie their Canadian life, Sergie loses the competition coming in 2nd place, Sergie
and Gregory come over for supper, Sergie gets drunk and truths about Soviet Lifestyle vs
true Canadian immigrant life come out.