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Sir Gibbie (Sir Gibbie, #1)
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Dec Group Read: Sir Gibbie > Chapters 7-12

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Lara Lee | 500 comments Mod
Gibbie is now exploring the world and running through the countryside. It seems to me that George MacDonald sees a child in nature as the ideal place for healing. He perceives a closeness to God and a refreshing of our humanity in nature. In other literature such as the Lord of the Flies and Jungle Book, one sees nature as stripping away humanity and making humans more animal-like. Which do you think is more accurate? Do you think a child wandering free in nature would heal or be traumatized?

Any other thoughts on these chapters in general?


message 2: by Stan (new)

Stan | 288 comments Mod
I have not been reading along, so I can't speak directly to the content of the book. I believe George MacDonald has more of a Celtic Christian view of nature. So, it stands to reason that he sees nature as beneficial.

As for me, I can only spend so much time among the things man has made before I really need to get out among the things God has created. While I don't go deep into the wilderness, I do need to get out into the countryside with some frequency.

As for children wandering in nature these days, I think it depends on the child. I think some would be traumatized, but others would find it therapeutic.


message 3: by Emily (new) - added it

Emily | 1 comments First I should mention I’m not keeping up, but I read the book about a hundred times growing up (edited version). I don’t agree with all of MacDonald’s views but I do think there’s something refreshing about getting out in nature. I don’t think nature itself is healing but it might make healing easier to find.
Ultimately I think it depends on the person. Gibbie is a sweetheart, he would likely find goodness in nature. The boys in Lord of the Flies were scared and desperate and they let that control them.
Personally, I’d put The Jungle Book in an entirely different category because Mowgli didn’t have his humanity stripped away so much as he was never exposed to it at all (in his memory) till later, even so, there are several moments in the book that focus on the fact that he’s too human to truly be an animal. Sorry, I got off on a tangent, but it’s one of my favorite books.
To summarize, I think nature only mirrors your worldview. If you know God and you look at a tree it might bring comfort by reminding you how powerful, wonderful, and creative He is. If you don’t know God, you’ll probably just see a tree.


Lara Lee | 500 comments Mod
Emily wrote: "To summarize, I think nature only mirrors your worldview."

I like this. It makes sense as I observe people in nature. I love to go camping, but I come from the city and have known many who can't stand the outdoors. I have also noticed that many books have conflicting views on humans in nature. Nature being a mirror makes a great deal of sense.


J.F. (jfrogers) | 49 comments I think that depends on the child and the people he might be around. Some people are toxic and it's best to get away from them. We were created to need God first and foremost. But He also created us for communion. I do see that Gibbie longs for that communion (I love the scene with him and the dog in the doghouse), but I think after what he's been through, he needs some healing. Since people caused the pain, he needs to get away and find God before he can go back.

But...I don't think Gibbie is a normal child. Most kids need an adult to care for them...as God intended.


message 6: by Kenyon (new) - added it

Kenyon Henry (kenyonthenry) | 25 comments There have been recorded instances of feral children living on their own in the wild. None of them were well developed people. All acted like animals.

That said, I find a certain healing quality in nature. For me, I feel closer to God there and am inspired by what He created. It leaves me in awe.


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