Reading Group Discussion: The Long Walk (Tuesday, July 30th)

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fljoe0

Cantre Member
Apr 5, 2008
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120 miles S of the Pancake/Waffle line
....great, great story and what a showcase of a young writers raw materials.......despite the somewhat nebulous ending, this tale grabs one's eyes and guts and never lets up.....it may be about a "walk", but the pacing is like a roadrunner on meth.....I physically hurt after I read this the first time.....

That 4mph pace is brutal.
 

cat in a bag

Well-Known Member
Aug 28, 2010
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wyoming
Sorry I missed the discussion last night. I have read this story around 5 times, I think. Each time but this last time, I was convinced Ray survived. This time I was sure he did not.

One thing I wish was in the story is how The Walk even came to be a thing. I think when I was younger I believed it to be post-apocalyptic. Like it was a way to make sure a young man's family was taken care of. But, this time I noticed references to going to the movies, going and having ice cream, stuff like that. So, how did this ever become a thing that was supported by the masses? Cheered on like some kind of sporting event? And why do the young men sign on? Is it a not quite mandatory thing, but strongly suggested kind if thing by the powers that be, to apply? And if so, why are the powers that be so eager to get rid of young, strong men? I would have liked a little background on that. (Reading through others thoughts that it is a metaphor for war makes sense. But my curiosity still wants to know how.)

One character who I found interesting was Stebbins. He was quiet but I thought cruel when he did say anything. Once you find out his reasons for being on The Walk, he becomes more sympathetic as a character. To me, at least. He is one who stuck out to me.

Thanks Doc!
 

fljoe0

Cantre Member
Apr 5, 2008
15,220
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120 miles S of the Pancake/Waffle line
For those who pop in later, I'm genuinely interested in your answer. Not many replied to this. Think about it and get back to me. :)
One that isn't mentioned in any of the earlier posts is Baker. He was the nicest guy of the group that came from the family of undertakers. When he died, he told Garraty he wanted a lead lined casket. I think he was the one Garraty tried to help after they had made the pact not to help anyone else.
 

fljoe0

Cantre Member
Apr 5, 2008
15,220
66,654
58
120 miles S of the Pancake/Waffle line
I don't think there is any place in the story that mentions how far into the future this story takes place. At times, the story seemed futurist and other times it almost seemed to be in the present (by present, I mean the 60s or 70s when it was written). The story seemed futurist but many characters seemed old fashioned. I like that you can't really pin down a time frame.

There is a line where Parker says, "Garraty, this is without a doubt..."
and the Garraty says, "Yeah, the most f*ed up state in the fifty-one."

I guess 51 states is futuristic.
 

osnafrank

Well-Known Member
Jan 24, 2017
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Germany
I don't think there is any place in the story that mentions how far into the future this story takes place. At times, the story seemed futurist and other times it almost seemed to be in the present (by present, I mean the 60s or 70s when it was written). The story seemed futurist but many characters seemed old fashioned. I like that you can't really pin down a time frame.

There is a line where Parker says, "Garraty, this is without a doubt..."
and the Garraty says, "Yeah, the most f*ed up state in the fifty-one."

I guess 51 states is futuristic.
I have read "State of Mind" by John Katzenbach a few weeks ago.
There was also a 51st state.
That`s all i wanted to say :tounge:
 

fljoe0

Cantre Member
Apr 5, 2008
15,220
66,654
58
120 miles S of the Pancake/Waffle line
Keep pickin' em up and puttin' em down.

I definitely got the impression that the senselessness of the boys' feeling some obligation to volunteer was meant to mirror, or at least make the reader think about the social pressure that motivates some men to enlist. I thought the references to being chosen for the Squads was meant to make us think about the draft.

I had never thought of the story that way before but that's an excellent observation.
 
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