Welcome to the first discussion of the Heidi read-along! If this is the first you've heard of the read-along, you can view the schedule in this invitation post.
Today we'll be discussing chapters 1-8. If you've already read these chapters, you can share your thoughts in the comments section below or in your own post. (Feel free to use the image above, linking back to the Heidi read-along tag.) If you still need to catch up on the reading, you're welcome to check in when you're ready. :) We're happy to have you join us whenever you can!
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Heidi: Chapters 1-8
Discussion format: your favorite quotes, general impressions, and three questions to answer for each week's reading
- "The sun does it. When he says good night to the mountains, he sends to them his most beautiful rays so that they may not forget him until he comes back again in the morning."
- "More attractive than all else to Heidi on such windy days was the roaring and rushing in the three old fir trees behind the hut. Wherever she happened to be, she had to run to them every little while, for nothing was so fascinating and wonderful as this deep, mysterious sound up in the treetops."
- "After many long years a joy had come into the blind grandmother's dreary life, and her days were no more long and dark; for now she always had something pleasant to look forward to."
- "Sebastian was standing outside the door and had to stop laughing before he could enter the room again. While he was serving Heidi, he had noticed a little cat's head peeping out of her pocket, and when it began to meow he could hardly contain himself long enough to set his tray on the table."
I think I'm finding this story to be so much sweeter and more engaging than I might have expected! Heidi's character is adorable and difficult to resist, almost with an Anne of Green Gables quality to her given a description like this: "Heidi was never unhappy, for she always found something about her to enjoy" (page 42 in my copy). She finds so much pleasure in nature and the goats and discovering new things and watching her grandfather work and in simple conversations with an older woman. Even when she ends up in completely foreign-to-her situations, she is quite resilient and brave and quick to find something to delight in.
It's surprising how young she is in these chapters. It's hard to imagine a five-year-old climbing up a mountainside! But her innocence is so sweet.
I love how her grandfather is quick to take to her and praise her, and how he watches out for her even while letting her play and grow in independence.
I'm a little uncertain still about Peter. I like him, but he also has a selfish streak (which, given his youth and circumstances, isn't surprising!). Still, I enjoyed seeing his friendship with Heidi and her grandfather bloom.
I love Peter's grandmother and the way she revels in Heidi's visits and defends her grandfather. It's so, so sad when Heidi is forced to leave... Ugh, Aunt Dete! Driven by guilt and duty, I suppose, but if only she actually loved Heidi. I hate that she gives Heidi away, then takes her away again when she sees fit, basically deceiving the poor little girl. :(
As for Heidi's new situation as companion to Klara, I'm torn. I'm glad Heidi has new friends like Klara and Sebastian. Sebastian is pretty awesome, haha! I loved when he paid the boy from the street to play his organ for the girls and cause a scene. And the way he takes care of the kittens and saves Heidi's hat from being thrown away—yep, I like him! But I'm also sad for Heidi, being so young and feeling homesick and trapped.
I'm curious to see where the next chapters take Heidi...
|A snowy illustration seems fitting for this season!|
Answer any or all three of these questions in the comments section or in your own blog post.
1. Which character ended up surprising you most in these first eight chapters?
2. Do you think you would enjoy living the way Heidi's grandfather does? What would you like or dislike about that kind of life and home?
3. Which scene have you found most touching so far? Most amusing?
Join us next Friday for our second discussion!
*Johanna Spyri, Heidi, trans. Helen B. Dole (New York: Grosset and Dunlap, 1945), 40, 42, 55, 94-95.