"Mantrap" is a 1925 novel of Ralph Prescott, a New York lawyer who goes into the wilderness where he finds himself competing with an experienced woodsman for the attentions of his (the woodsman's) beautiful, but bored, wife.
This book, while not as directly political as many of Sinclair Lewis's other works, does display the conflicting roles of men and women in the 1920's. Ralph Prescott, a 40 year old bachelor is persuaded by E. Wesson Woodbury to join him for several weeks roughing it during the summer in northern Canada.
The plan is for them to travel through northern Canada while fishing, hunting, and meeting Indians and fur trappers and live the "simple," rugged life of the great outdoors as a way of getting away for the summer.
Prescott decides to make the trip because he was working long hours and stressing himself out. He agrees to go, only to find out on the trail that he hates the bullying, self-important Wes Woodbury.
At one of their camping spots a Canadian fur trader named Joe Easter shows up. Joe owns a store at Mantrap Landing, and Ralph comes to regard Joe as a true friend, and then begs him to take him away from Wes Woodbury.
Joe agrees, and as their canoe heads toward Mantrap Landing, Joe tells Ralph about a visit he took to Minneapolis the year before, which was where he met and married his wife, Alverna, whom he brought back to live with him in the wild.
Alverna is bored and a flirt, and it doesn't take long before Ralph is heads over heels in love with her. To break away from temptation Ralph decides to take off in a canoe with only a single guide to find his original host, Woodbury.
Alverna runs away from Joe and persuades Ralph to take her with him back to civilization. The two become lovers, and their guide steals their canoe and abandons them right before an understandably furious Joe Easter catches up with them, right before massive forest fires almost engulf all three.
The three survive, and each chooses their own path at the end, leading to a relatively light ending for a Sinclair Lewis novel, and a pretty easy read. This novel was written a year after Lewis himself spent some time in Canada, though his brother stayed their far longer.
This is an enjoyable read of Sinclair Lewis that works as good summer reading, and if you've ever wanted to see great north, the description in this book is worthy of any modern travel classic.
Examples Of Book Review
Modern parents are concerned about the effects of technology on their kids. Younger and younger children are spending more and more time interacting not with human beings, but with gadgets - cell phones, computers, video games, and other devices. Do we have reason to be concerned, and if yes, how do we go about setting limits?
In the book Generation Text, Dr. Osit reveals how the combination of high-tech interaction and immediate gratification is putting our children at risk for developing distorted self-image, poor work ethic, a sense of entitlement, and weakened social skills, as well as aggressive tendencies. Parents owe it to their kids to set boundaries when it comes to the use of gadgets, for their kid's long term physical, emotional as well as social health.
Statistics show that kids spend more than half of their playtime in front of screens. The effect of this is that kids are less connected to the family. Why should parents be concerned about this?
1. Impairment of social skills - when machine to machine interaction replaces person to person interaction too much of the time, kids will not readily learn nuances essential to social skills. For example, texting eliminates many challenges socially that contain important lessons for kids and teens to learn.
2. Changing values - the attitudes and behavior of kids has declined because modern kids have access to the world. The messages they get are not always appropriate.
3. Anonymity - we get more brazen and nervy when using technology. That is not always healthy for relationships.
Dr. Osit refers to access and excess in his book. Access refers to easy availability of the world and other people. Kids can be all over the world in their bedrooms. Children can be exposed to ideas and concepts that are disturbing and that can change their developing brains. In the past, parents tried to protect their kids from these influences until they were more mature and could make better decisions. Now it's harder than ever to do so.
Excess - kids who live in economically privileged parts of the world have too many privileges and possessions. There is often is a sense of entitlement with these things. What is acceptable and common for the age group is not always appropriate. Parents need to think about what's best for their child and family, not what the neighbors are doing.
Too much technology can lead to weak delayed gratification muscles. As parents we need to help our kids learn how to delay gratification in order for them to be happy, healthy adults. Many parents are going overboard in expending too much money, time and resources. Parents are operating in a busier, fast paced world and because of guilt we say yes, sometimes to compensate for a lack of time.
Studies show that kids - even teens - really do respect and admire their parents and want to please them. They also crave to spend more time with their parents. We need to start creating more balance with our kids and give them the gift of our focused attention instead of more gadgets.
When used the right way, technology can be an asset. For instance, shy kids can use technology to boost their social ability. It can compensate for their weakness. What is needed is to establish limits and boundaries with your kids before you give your child the privilege of using technology such as the internet. Instruct them on what they should do for example, if they come across pornography online.
Computers should be kept in a public area of the home and the rules of use posted nearby. Parental controls are easy to implement and some of these are free from the internet service provider. Kids should be coached to come to the parents if they stumble on something inappropriate online. Encourage them to come to you if that happens and help them understand that you will not get angry but will talk about it. This is an opportunity for you to hand down your values to your kids.
Dr. Osit suggests eliminating distractions during family times and setting a good example by turning off cell phones at the dinner table and on family outings. Model the behavior you want. If a parent is addicted to their Blackberry, then they can hardly criticize their child for being addicted to their handheld gaming system.
Both Shane Dayton & Carrie Lauth are contributors for EditorialToday. The above articles have been edited for relevancy and timeliness. All write-ups, reviews, tips and guides published by EditorialToday.com and its partners or affiliates are for informational purposes only. They should not be used for any legal or any other type of advice. We do not endorse any author, contributor, writer or article posted by our team.
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