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Areej Zaitoun

The brothers decide to leave their farm and the rest of society because, like their father, they love the woods. After their mother dies, Aapo tells his brothers that it is time to change their wild ways, "It's time to be wise, to harness our whims and wishes to the yoke of reason..." (p.8) At this Lauri says "Let's go deep into the woods." (p. 10) He says that in the woods they would be free like the wild animals that live out there. Juhani says that Aapo has the right idea in keeping up the farm.

Monique Ohanessian

I had questions about how Kivi's story was recieved by Finnish people.

Kivi’s main characters in “Seven Brothers” are a less than ideal model of Finnish nationals, especially from Snellman’s point of view. Snellman’s ideals, and thus the ideals behind much of the Fennoman movement, were based on Finnish enlightenment and conservative values. Do you think Kivi’s portrayal of the boys as unyielding and wild was risky? Does their laziness and lack of influence from their mother, who traditionally provides guidance in Finnish education and customs, purposely meant to challenge standards or do you think it will become more of a cautionary tale?

Areej Zaitoun

I also felt that way when reading Seven Brothers. The brothers are lazy and unwilling to change. I haven't finished the chapters yet so I don't know if at the end there will be a lesson to all of their lazy ways. I guess I'll find out.

Kyle Wilson

Throughout the first chapter of the "Seven Brothers", the brothers seem to be in disagreement about leaving their home. Aapo, seems to be the least in favor of leaving their current home. When discussing the possbility of moving into the woods, he states "You fools, what are you thinking of? Move into the woods! Why? We have a house and farm, a precious roof over our heads." (pg. 12) From this statement, Aapo seems to be the most conservative of the brothers. From my understandig of his character, Aapo seems to be very level-headed. He thinks about the future and the difficulties moving into the woods would bring upon the brothers. If the seven brothers were to stay where they are now, they wouldn't have to build a new home and start over. However, on the other hand, Lauri seems to be the most advid about moving into the woods. His reason for leaving is he wants to get "far from the ways of the world and its ill-tempered people." (pg. 10) The ill-tempered people Lauri is describing is the new church provost, who is described as being "fearfully stern." Therefore, it seems the brothers have a bit of an internal conflict in deciding whether to leave their current home and move. However, in the end, the brothers end up packing up their belongings and moving into the woods. In addition, I have a question. Why don't the brothers seperate and do what they feel is best for them individually? It seems like there is a split among the brothers and I don't understand why each brother has to follow in each other's path.

Areej Zaitoun

I also found it odd that the even though Aapo, for instance, wants to stay on the farm, he follows his brothers into the woods. He even asks at the end if he is supposed to stay on the farm while his brothers go out into the woods. I think the reason is because as a family they feel that they need to stick together and since all of the other brothers were in agreement about going into the woods, Aapo went along. It would probably be really hard for Aapo to stay on the farm alone and try to keep it up. That's my best guess as to why he went along.

Jim Lee

I felt the boys were lazy and unwilling to change. They are definitely not heroes of Snellman ideals. The only reason why they leave and run off in to the wilderness is to avoid learning how to read and write. These boys may not be heroes in Snellman’s eyes but Finnish culture needs a more diverse group of heroes.

Brynn Anderson

Though the brothers initially leave, because they are reluctant to learn the catechism, all seven of the boys also desire to break away from the conformity and repression of their elders and the church. The brothers are somewhat lazy and unexperienced at the start of the story, however, their journey brings them many difficult decisions to make and obstacles to overcome. Their adventure portrays anything but a sense of laziness, though it is partially that laziness which motivates them to live a life of hunting in the wilderness.


Great posts! One of the questions the novel poses is the extent to which self-knowledge brings about change. This question was especially important during the 19th century. There is even a type of novel concerned with such change, the bildungsroman, or novel education in which the novel narrates the way a young and rash protagonist lands himself in trouble, which provokes a changed understanding of self, which results in his emergence as new person. Charles Dickens _Great Expectations_ is sometimes mentioned as an example of the bildungsroman. The question is, how can people change? Often we think of a person's character, or nature, as unchanging? "You've always been a lazy bum, and you'll always be a lazy bum!" In contrast, we often argue that change is possible, if we just embrace it. What do you think might cause the brothers to change in Kivi's novel, based on what you've read?

Mariya Marinova

I'd say that it's not laziness in the sense of "being afraid of physical work" that urges the seven brothers into the woods - it's true that they don't invest much efforts in keeping up their farm but it's more like they just don't see themselves as being cut out to doing that particular type of work; they are not lazy when it comes to hunting and fighting and these used to be considered typical primeval male activities. It is just that they can't find their place in civilized society - their connection to nature is much stronger, and this is also evident in the stories they tell each other - although they are afraid of God, there is much more paganism than Christianity in their beliefs.

Laura Patterson

Each brother seems to have their own reasons for leaving and yet the same reason... because they all want to stick together. They all seem to take after their father's love of the woods. They seem to love the "free" life, not having to go to school or needing to report to society. They want to live their own adventurous lives without any of society's pressures. They all have a very strong bond between them and it is obvious throughout the first four chapters that despite any fights they will stick together.

Deven Rice

I'm having trouble figuring out what makes this such a great peice of literature for the Finnish culture. I do enjoy the story but how do the seven brothers reflect Finnish life? I also like their loyalty to each other but what lesson do we learn from reading this story? The brothers quit everything; (except each other) they quite reading school, their farm life and so on. Maybe there's more to it as it goes on past the four chapters. The brothers do try and repeant their sins by working to pay people back. Is that what we're suppose to get from this story?

Kirk Heinrich

In regards to Andy’s question: Since the brothers are so united and stubborn, I feel that it would take a series of large events to “nudge” the brothers into change. Throughout the four chapters we read we rarely saw a brother make a decision, and stick by it. All that we saw, was a brother “suggest” a decision and then the brothers would discuss whether this would be the optimal choice. This is why I think it would take a either a large event, or series of events to, ignite a desire for change in the brother’s lives. Beyond that, I also think the events would need to have one of two origins: 1) Natural event, like a fire, storm, drought, etc. or 2) The people who have been victims of the brothers finally get revenge without the brothers knowing. In both of these cases, enough damage could be done to disrupt the Brother’s wild lives. Obviously the brothers would become upset enough to contemplate why they were the targets of disaster. Their ensuing discussion would probably lead them to suspect God of punishing them (since it is not attributable to another person), thus they realize that to avoid God’s wrath they must change their lives. That’s just one of my ideas. Another logical choice is that the brothers become divided (to a degree) and one by one they slowly become civilized. THE END.

Kyle Wilson

So much has been talked about in class about Kivi's novel "Seven Brothers" and how it had such a huge effect on Finnish literature. However, I am curious to know whether Kivi realized his novel would have the effect it has had today. The guest lecturer discussed how "Seven Brothers" is similar to the American novel "Huck Finn" and how both novels were "masterpieces" of each country's literary history. Do you believe when these two authors realized that their work would have the impact it has today? Also, do you believe when the two authors were writing their novels they purposely created these themes of independence, compassion, symbolism and humor. Or do scholars read too far into the text and the structure of these novels to create such themes?


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