The short story analyzes the past and present experience of individuals at a campsite. These people were Carl James, his wife Louise, and his friend called Floyd Paxton (Guterson 129). Carl, Louise, and Floyd were visiting the North Fork Campground. At the Last Stop Grocery, Carl and his wife find teenagers drinking but he is unable to warn them just because he also drinks beer. While entering the store, Carl feels like advising the teens on proper drinking. He says "Don't drink em all in one snort now, fellas" (Guterson 130). Even though Carl had stayed in this place with Floyd for a while, he had moved to a different location, and it is in this store that he met Floyd after many years of not seeing each other. The drinking teenagers and the site of Floyd led to Carl forgetting about his wifes cookies.
Carl and Floyd had a history with the North Fork Campground. The story says "Carl had helped build the forms one summer at the North Fork Campground" (Guterson 132). Carl and Floyd had both engaged in different activities at this camp, and this showed how close they were. They had grown together around this camp, and as such, it is a place that they knew very well. They had stayed together, got drunk together and had a lot of fun together. They had even worked for the government in helping with the maintenance of the campsite. Carl had married and had two children (Guterson 133). His wife dies of cancer, and that is when he met Louise. It is after this that Floyd moved to a new place, Seattle, where he found a new job.
Carl had failed to contact Floyd after moving to Seattle since he failed to reply to his first letter inviting him to Seattle. It explains the surprise he got when he saw Floyd after many years. They had a good time at the Little Nelson River (Guterson 133). They drank beers while naked and they enjoyed the river. The beers had made them immune to pain and even when they were hit by rocks and sticks, they did not feel the pain. It is the fun that Carl and Floyd had during their times, and he remembered it all like it was just yesterday.
However, on this day, it was different because he was accompanied by his wife, Louise. Carl had come to show Louise this site for the first time, and as such, it was a good experience for Louise. He showed her the river and the trees (Guterson 135). Carl enjoyed this experience because his first wife did not support it but Louise loved it, and this motivated Carl. They had picked Floyd, and he accompanied Carl to the river. They were drunk while jumping into the river but they did not seem to be afraid of the dangers. More people had come to camp on this site, and as such, it was a good experience for families. They were ashamed when some teenagers and families saw them naked. They were drunk and had swum far off and had difficulties going back. It is at this time that they vowed to die for each other, a promise they had made before.
This story is important as it analyzes the importance of friendship and the attachments that individuals have to places they had stayed before. Carl had led most of his life in this place with Floyd, and as such visiting, it refreshed the memories and gave him the opportunity to reconnect with his long lost friend.
Guterson, David. Arcturus.
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