The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower, #1) The Gunslinger discussion

What theme stands out the most?

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Chris There are so many themes that are addressed in this book. That of survival, the passing of time, concepts of the cosmos and the very elements of our existence. This seems to be a story about a quest for knowledge as about anything else. We could even discuss what this story says about love or about the destiny of civilization. What stuck out to you the most?

message 2: by Katie (new)

Katie I am mid way through The Gunslinger, at the place where Roland goes to the oracle. I am getting the survival theme, and kind of the quest for knowledge, (cause isn't that what he wants from the man in black?) But I'm really trying to figure out the whole idea of the world, and trying to figure out who Roland is (is he good or bad? and what makes him tick.) But I guess the theme that stands out the most to me at this point of the book is survival. Roland does what he does to survive. It seems like a very shallow plot at this point, with maybe a few glimpses of depth. Maybe you have a different perspective. Does it go deeper? Is it worth finishing? I'm not that impressed so far...

Chris I do think it is worth finishing. There are some interesting things that happen to Roland. You might have already ditched the book already or may have already finished it so I hope you found the end worth reading. Throughout the book, I found there to be a constant depiction of how the world around us changes. Also, I guess I found Roland to be a bit deeper than someone is is out to survive. Especially in light of what happens to Jake. Let me konw what you think.

Erin ☕ *Proud Book Hoarder* I would think sacrifice may be the main theme

Richard making it all up as you go along stuck out most for me, after 3 good books he chucked the plot and grabbed the crayons

Rafael My favorite theme is the limits of human comprehension. The man in black really emphasizes the importance of this at the end. Also, it always seems that many of the characters are wondering "what lies beyond?". Beyond the desert, beyond the mountains, beyond the universe, etc. Each character is trying to understand their place in their reality. One of my favorite parts in the book is when Roland speaks to Brown while staying in his house. He asks him if he believes in an afterlife and Brown answers "I think this is it". I was also really intrigued when Roland asks Kennerly about what exists beyond the desert and he answers ""Some might. The coach ran through part of it fifty years ago. My pap said so. He used to say 'twas mountains. Others say an ocean... a green ocean with monsters. And some say that's where the world ends. That there ain't nothing but lights that'll drive a man blind and the face of God with his mouth open to eat them up". I don't know exactly what to make of those lines, but to me it seems like this world is just so IMMENSE. That's what I love about this series. Ok I'm done rambling.

Padraic Rafter Sandyboy wrote: "making it all up as you go along stuck out most for me, after 3 good books he chucked the plot and grabbed the crayons"

I loved the books but it did change after the 3rd one and that is the one funny ass post, love it.

Melissa Sandyboy wrote: "making it all up as you go along stuck out most for me, after 3 good books he chucked the plot and grabbed the crayons"

lol. Crayons. Yep. I love SK, but he really, really needs to do at least a teensy-weensy bit of outlining. The MIUAYGA is the one flaw that "colors" ha ha all his books.

message 9: by Melissa (last edited Feb 08, 2012 09:07AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Melissa I think Roland is driven chiefly by revenge. In the face of everything that has been stripped away from him--including honor and decency, some of which he gradually (but not entirely) regains, nothing remains but the drive to confront/destroy (more in revenge than for justice)the author of all his loss.

The end makes an interesting suggestion that the underlying quest has more to do with staying human and decent in the face of great loss.

I hope I managed to say that without spoilers. I'm just awful about spoilers because I kind of like peeking at the ending when I'm about halfway through and the tension gets too much for me. I forget that most people don't really appreciate that.

Oops! I reread this post and realized I almost DID include a spoiler. It had to do with my reference to the author of his loss. I hope this isn't a spoiler.

message 10: by Linda (new) - rated it 1 star

Linda David I read The Gunslinger after I'd read the others in the series, and to be honest, if I'd read this one first, I wouldn't have bothered with the rest of the series. Very difficult to get into, and even more difficult to finish.

Steve What I've seen in this book is the sort of quest for knowledge. Roland seems to not understand much. He was raised in a kind of weird civilization and was cut off from most of the world. I'm part way through the second book, and I don't know why he is questing for the tower.

message 12: by Michael (new) - added it

Michael Barnett I have read the entire series twice, and the main overwhelming theme is Roland's obsession withe the dark tower. He sacrifices friends and family in his quest for it. The story says that obsession can lead you astray, that you lose sight of what is really important in life. If you doubt this, think on what happens when Roland reaches the tower, gets past the crimson king, and ascends the stairs. What happens next? He is punished for his obsession with the tower by having to do a rewind with his life. Some would see this as a second chance to do things right. I think he has to decide that the steps along the way in his life are more important than the end.

Nora aka Diva Chris wrote: "What stuck out to you the most? .."

That reading it reminding me of listening to a drunk tell ya something when you're sober.

message 14: by A. (new) - rated it 5 stars

A. Lynn I've only finished the first book in the series, but so far it looks to me to be a theme of "inevitability".

It's inevitable that the world has emptied, and has moved on now. Things change. Always there is change. Roland is assured of this as he is assured of his inevitable catch-up to the Man in Black; nevermind that Brown says he won't catch him, and that the Man in Black has unnatural talents as a sorcerer.

This reminder of inevitability occurs time and again, as we are reminded that even the town of Tull is a hollow dead husk, just barely clinging on to the world. It is inevitable that things grow old and fade; just as Roland's childhood has faded. It is inevitable that Roland will have to constantly pit his sense of ethics against his sense of duty, and in the exchange, lose his innocence on his continual passage of adulthood. The sad reminder of this occurs in happenings of Jake, who seems but a reminder to the Gunslinger that he was once a young boy too; and well before the end of this book, the audience is well aware of the signs pointing to the inevitability of Jake's passing. Jake himself knows this all to well. Jake is but a sad metaphor of Roland's inevitable change and fading as he yet again has to sacrifice ethics and innocence to pursue the duty of being a full grown Gunslinger.

The world is moving on. The ways of the Gunslinger's culture have died. It's only inevitable until the world leaves Roland behind too, though he braces sternly against this inevitability, just as Tull the town once did.

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