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Through the Woods
By Emily Carroll

Discussed February 2015

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  1. Did you finish the book?
  2. Did you like the book? Why or why not?
  3. Some of the stories (“Our Neighbor’s House,” “His Face All Red,” “My Friend Janna”) build a sense of menace without ever revealing the nature of the threat, while others (“A Lady’s Hands Are Cold,” “The Nesting Place”) are much more explicit about the source of danger. Did you prefer one approach over the other?
  4. Did you find Through the Woods frightening? Were there stories that you thought were more effective as horror than others?
  5. Carroll sometimes uses unusual page layouts. Were there any that you particularly liked or disliked? Why? If you’ve read her stories online (particularly the online version of “His Face All Red”), did you feel the different layout constraints of screen and page affected your perception of the stories?
  6. Carroll uses a variety of color palettes, from the sepia and gray of “Our Neighbor’s House” and “My Friend Janna” to the primary tones of “A Lady’s Hands Are Cold” and “In Conclusion.” Did you have a particular favorite? Did the different use of color affect the mood of the stories for you?
  7. Why did you think the stories were ordered the way they were? Would you have arranged them differently? Did you feel like the frame device of the introduction and conclusion enhanced the collection?
  8. With the exception of “His Face All Red,” the stories in Through the Woods focus on women and interactions between women. Even when men are antagonists (“Our Neighbor’s House,” “A Lady’s Hands Are Cold”), they remain largely off-screen. Did you notice the lack of men? How did you feel about the portrayal of gender over all?
  9. Through the Woods contains no explicit LGBT content and very little romantic or sexual content of any kind. However, when heterosexual relationships do appear, they are presented as dangerous or sources of resentment for the protagonist. How did you feel about the book’s treatment of relationships? Would you have preferred it to have included LGBT content?
  10. Through the Woods is sold as YA, recommended for age 14 and up. Was there anything specific about it that stood out as YA, rather than adult? Would you have enjoyed the collection more as a teen? Would you recommend it to teens that you know?
  11. Were you familiar with Emily Carroll’s web comics work before reading this collection? If not, have you since found it or will you be seeking it out?
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