The Taming of the Loon

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Main Theme

The main idea or meaning explored in the story: Subjective relativism via justification and rationalization of wrong-doing


An image or idea that repeats in the story: Fishing/Search for Regeneration/Doing the Right Thing/Attention to trees/Slippery slope of Wrong-Doing/Therapy by Water


Symbols represent bigger ideas/story reveals more than plot line or events/story builds additional layers of meaning

Act as a model for living life the way you’re supposed to. Trees can be counted to always do the right thing

Land (Relative)
A place where all the problems and human flaws reside: guilt, evil, moral compromise, lies, masks/disguises, fear, fallen angels, pandemic, taxes, hills to climb. On land the earth is covered with concrete and asphalt. You need a passport, worry about safety, right and wrong become blurry

Water (Absolute)
A place of calmness, peace, therapy, regeneration: nature’s confession booth; a place to connect with all of creation, even challenge gravity, enjoy a level playing field where everyone is equal and class disappears

A burden that weighs heavily on people: more pressure on solid ground

A symbol of wilderness / Contact triggers epiphany to begin renewal

Natural light offers enlightenment. Its rise and fall signals cycle of life

Other References

Animals & Nature
Animal life and Nature reach out to connect with humans (Fish, Deer,Loon, Basil) Easier in natural landscape

The act of fishing represents a search to discover our higher self; through reflection, to trigger the path toward renewal

A signpost in water, helps direct man away from moral hazards, to path of revitalization

A sweet-smelling plant. Nature’s attempt to purify our world

Today, on land there is little “inner growth.” The only hope for redemption on land is one’s house of worship/meditation/Prayer) and frequent escape from moral hazards to Nature for growth and renewal

On land things change; continuous uncertainty. Water never changes. Pictures on wall at resort show Long Lake and trees are the same today as they were in 1890

Creation of Adam Painting
Man continues attempts at Godliness, comes very close, but never quite touches the hand of God

Fallen Angel Painting
Mankind’s falling away from God. Angel heads adorn bishop’s desk

Owner of resort; also Apostle Paul’s name before conversion

Timothy 1
Largest cabin on the resort; also, Paul’s first epistle to Timothy

The number 50
A Christian holiday, Pentecost, observed 50 days after Easter Sunday; It celebrates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles; A Jewish festival celebrated 50 days following Passover

      • In the story there are 50 tables in the banquet hall
      • In the story there are 50 chapters
      • Famir was held in detention for 50 days

Three Trials

      • Pharmaceutical trials toward vaccine
      • Trial of Oil Company vs. Government
      • Trials of Famir

A lesson that separates people more until they learn to live in peace and care for one another

Lion’s Cave Jim relates an allegory to understand the significance of the loon’s boat landing

Good Triumphs over Evil

      • Air Ship Genesis/Pathway to Renewal (Jesus video game)
      • Dark cloud eclipsed by white cloud
      • Killing of El-Awad
      • Famir aborts terrorist plot
      • St. George slays the dragon (symbol of evil)


      • Bishop shows courage to do the right thing for Famir; safeguard Christians in Nazareth
      • Famir is redeemed with Stan’s counsel
      • Tony’s redemption is a work in progress
        • Herb and Saul are at the right place for renewal but don’t recognize it.
        • Herb feels he doesn’t belong with Stan’s group while Saul runs the resort but remains unchanged by it; and is destined to retain his name
      • Greg is redeemed by helping church
      • Jim, a sleeper hero, saves Famir, helps destroy evil
      • Stacey finds path to improve education of children

Reach out & Cross Over

      • Loon, deer (Into human world)
      • Bishop (Into the fray for the greater good)
      • Stan (Into everyone’s problems)
      • Jim (From corporate corruption to doing the right thing)
      • Stacey (Into a broken education system)
      • Famir (A giant leap toward redemption)
      • Greg (Protector of church and mankind)
      • Basil plant (crosses over to purify mankind)
      • Government overreach to church coffers (negative cross-over)
      • Stan wears lay clothing to enter the world of those he counsels
      • Landscape—crossing over for renewal from hard concrete & pavement to gravel, soft ground and finally, water

Natural Light (Personification)
Shafts of light through window delight Stan; his mother protects herself from natural light

        • Jim shields himself from the sun at the conference meet with Stan
        • Rt. Rev. Pharris squints at sun in Boston graduation
        • Natural light: light of awareness; enlightenment
        • Artificial light: cabins powered by propane, sconces around diocese painting


      • Church needs huge sums to operate
      • Bishop surrounded by opulence
      • Stan’s parents worry he’s not earning enough money
      • Opulence at Stan’s wedding
      • Archbishop desires special Scotch
      • Pnemochlorin passed over; new govt. money to develop vacccine


      • Bishop allows copy of famous painting to pass as real
      • Herb’s rotting teeth reflect the decay and breakdown of society
      • Bishop’s polished nails at first, (but later abandoned for the greater good)
      • Archbishop’s taste in Scotch
      • Real state of church expressed in recurring diocese gate squeak


      • Famir’s introduction foreshadows future conflict at the Holy Lands
      • Jim’s baptism into nature foreshadows his inner growth
      • Stacey’s interest in Bennett’s book foreshadows her own book
      • Early meeting with Famir and militants foreshadows an evil plan
      • First meeting between Stan and Greg foreshadows church tax problems

Slippery Slope

      • Of general wrong doing (leads to evil)
      • Of Oil company going to trial
      • Of Famir going to trial
      • Of taking Nature for granted
      • Expecting automatic Grace after a prayer
      • Allowing miraculous events to fall to insignificance --Stan’s demons (other women) (9-mile bar, Dream, TJ’s Tavern)

Crunching of Gravel Road
The transition (bridge) between water and the hard surface of the world. (pavement-concrete). The path to water goes from concrete, to gravel, to soft soil, to water. Hearing the crunching sound means either going towards nature or away from nature

Messianic Act
Famir unwittingly aborts a major horrific event at the risk of his own life and family’s life. Truly a sacrifice but a triumph for Good over Evil

Quid Pro Quo

      • Bishop’s deal with Benjamin
      • Stan’s advice for Jim’s guilt
      • Greg’s deal to forget Pnemochlorin / save the church

Emersonian Ethic
The notion that nature plays a major role in guiding human intuition toward contemplation and worship; that nature allows awareness and spiritual growth to develop from within. Nature and all creation are connected to God and therefore, are Divine. “The happiest man is he who learns from nature the lesson of worship.” (Emerson) Henry David Thoreau felt the same way.

  The Taming of the Loon - Book Cover