Literature Study GuidesIn The Lake Of The Woods

In the Lake of the Woods | Study Guide

Tim O'Brien

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Course Hero. "In the Lake of the Woods Study Guide." December 20, 2019. Accessed December 3, 2021.


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Tim O'Brien

Year Published






Perspective and Narrator

In the Lake of the Woods has a third-person omniscient narrator who assumes the role of an investigator and reconstructs the story of Kathy Wade's disappearance primarily through John Wade's perspective. The narration is interspersed with chapters titled "Evidence" that include quotations and footnotes that add a sense of legitimacy and relevance to the investigation. There are also chapters titled "Hypothesis" that are primarily focused on Kathy Wade's perspective and are guesses as to what might have transpired.


In the Lake of the Woods is told in the past tense.

About the Title

The title references the setting of the present portions of the text: Lake of the Woods on the Minnesota and Canada border. Rather than using the preposition "on" in terms of being "on the lake," Tim O'Brien instead touches on the mystery in the book by using the descriptor "in." He is foreshadowing the place where the answers to the question of Kathy Wade's disappearance lie—in the Lake of the Woods.


This study guide for Tim O'Brien's In the Lake of the Woods offers summary and analysis on themes, symbols, and other literary devices found in the text. Explore Course Hero's library of literature materials, including documents and Q&A pairs.

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