Table Topic questions are meant to stimulate family and classroom discussion.
Use the questions below after reading,"Northwest Independents"
- The '50s were a decade of stability, family, material progress. Many Americans looked alike, dressed alike, lived in look-alike suburban subdivisions. Was it necessary to conform to get ahead then? And now? Many businesses had strict dress codes, including Boeing and Safeco, which just announced a relaxation of its men's white-dress-shirt and-tie code more than 40 years later. Do people who dress alike think and act alike? Do uniforms and dress codes promote conformity or businesslike, less socially-competitive behavior?
- Personal style often suggests identity with a particular social group or community, whether business associates or teammates. Do most of us feel the need for acceptance and identity within a group? Although unconventional, is body art and flamboyantly-dyed hair a kind of uniform? Is it possible to be an individual within a group? Have you ever felt out of step with your own peers? Were you comfortable about it or not?
- June Burn and her husband eked out a subsistence living by writing and living off the land. Is there a distinction between choosing to be poor and living a life of poverty? Could you live this kind of life? What skills would you need and how would you learn them?
- On Tiger Mountain, Irving Petite attempted to emulate Thoreau's experience on Walden Pond. He wrote essays for The Seattle Times about living simply and respectfully on the land. How can you do this, whether you live in the heart of the city, in the suburbs or on the farm? Does the newspaper or other media offer suggestions about alternative or ecologically-sound living? What about local organizations?
- Jim Stevens came from a time-honored blue-collar literary tradition. He celebrated the lives of loggers and the woodsman culture. Where do you think he would stand today on the issues of forest preservation vs. the livelihood and culture of the logger?
- The free-spirited '50s writers featured on the Centennial page celebrated the land and the labor of the Pacific Northwest. How did their writings and lives capture the essence of regional character? What is the Northwest image today and how is it reflected in our newspaper and other media?
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