Here are options of topics and sub-topics to pursue for a critical analysis of this book:
- silence: sound, noise, fixing noise with WD-40
- solitude: wandering = wondering, home, "single runs in the family", runaways
- saving someone's life and eternal link with that person
- luck: bad luck, belief in, Lucky Buster, Casa Suerte, luck in gambling
- pigs: price of, Pliedes = 6 bad boys and mother who wouldn't let go, pig farm, slaughterhouse, Francis Pig and his ironic death
- racial boundaries: % blood relative, 1/200 with claims on Cherokee Nation, 1/4 Methodist who declines claims on Nation, Alice's role, tribal vs. individual mentality, "Being Cherokee is more or less a mindset", "Who do we blame?" "The times, ignorance, the notion people always seem to get that they know what's best for somebody else."
- storms: thunder, rain, and how they apply to points in plot, turtle that won't let go until it thunders
- turtle: Turtle herself, meaning of names, Stand catching a snapping turtle
- birds: birds in apricot tree, mulberry bushes around peach tree to keep birds away, weed birds, shooting pigeons, coyote eating dove eggs, pet birds of suicidal manager, raising ostriches vs. bees, Barbie as "exotic bird trapped in a rotten cage," goose round-up, Mr. Green
- "Anybody can get worked up if they have the intention. It's peacefulness that is hard to come by on purpose."
- salmon: going home, tattered, fighting a long struggle only to meet with Sea Lions at the top, "you shouldn't forget who made you" and tie-ins to solitude and wandering
- cars: car parts, resurrected truck, dodge, Turtle in cars, car parts store, Harland's headlights
- heaven: Heaven, Oklahoma, "Everybody knows the way to Heaven," pigs in heaven, Welcome to Heaven sign
- gossip: as public service for people with communication problems with their own hearts