Study Guide

Hoot Contrasting Regions: Montana versus Florida

By Carl Hiaasen

Contrasting Regions: Montana versus Florida

"Hey," said Garrett. "You got a skateboard?"

"No, but I've got a snowboard."

Garrett hooted. "What for?"

"Where I used to live it snowed a lot," Roy said.

"You should learn to skateboard. It's awesome, man."

"Oh, I know how to skateboard. I just don't have one." (1.75-80)

Aside from the clever use of "hooted", this exchange between Roy and Garrett alludes to a major difference between Florida and Montana. How so? Well, you'd be hard pressed to find snowboarding in Florida.

His mother assured Roy that he would love Florida. Everybody in America wants to move there, she'd said, it's so sunny and gorgeous. Then Roy's father had poked his head in the door and said, with somewhat forced enthusiasm: "And don't forget Disney World."

"Disney World is an armpit," Roy had stated flatly, "compared to Montana. I want to stay here." (2.29-30)

Roy is definitely vocal about how much he does not want to move to Florida. And trying to entice him with Disney World isn't working. Though labeling it "an armpit" is more colorful, we think he'd rather play in the natural wilderness than a commercial theme park.

Florida was made for running; Roy had never seen anyplace so flat. Back in Montana you had steep craggy mountains that rose ten thousand feet into the clouds. Here the only hills were man-made highway bridges - smooth, gentle slopes of concrete. (1.71)

These two places couldn't be more different. And Roy is not keen on flat, mountainless Florida.

Snakes - and not just any old snakes.

They had broad triangular heads, like the prairie rattlers back in Montana, but their bodies were much-colored and ominously plump. Roy recognized the snakes as cottonmouth moccasins, highly poisonous. (5.15-16)

The prairie rattlers that Roy is thinking of are probably Crotalus viridis, which are just as poisonous as the Agkistrodon piscivorus (aka the cottonmouth moccasins). But it's all about location, location, location—since the two have very different habitats.

When he got to the sidewalk he tried to run but it was like sloshing through the shallows of an endless lake. Roy had noticed this about Florida: It was so low and flat that puddles took forever to drain. (6.107)

It's always easier to notice things you don't like when they get in your way. And if you've ever tried running through water, you know how much that can hold you back

In Montana, the only animals that dug holes like that were gophers and badgers, and Roy was positive there weren't many of those in Florida. (10.143)

Physical geography isn't only difference that Roy notices between Montana and Florida. Roy's new environment is completely different, wildlife and all.

"...Where you from, Tex?"

"Montana," Roy replied automatically. Then he added, "Well, actually, I was born in Detroit. But we lived in Montana right before we moved down here."

"Never been out West," Mullet Fingers said, "but I know they got mountains."

"Yeah. Awesome mountains."

"That's what we need here," said the boy. "Florida's so flat, there's nothing to stop 'em from bulldozin' one coast to the other." (14.106-110)

That's not entirely true (as Roy points out) but we see what Mullet Fingers is trying to say. Even though he's never been there, Mullet Fingers know how drastically different the scenery is.

Although the airboat was very fast, the ride across the shallows was like gliding on silk. Again Roy was astounded by the immense flatness of the terrain, the lush horizons, and the exotic abundance of life. Once you got away from all the jillions of people, Florida was just as wild as Montana. (16.76)

Looks like Roy stumbled upon a similarity between his old and new homes. Again, he notices how flat Florida is but instead of comparing that to mountainous Montana, he marvels at the surrounding wildlife.

It was a sweltering afternoon, but Roy had resigned himself to the fact that there was no change of seasons in South Florida, only mild variations of summer.

And though he missed the crisp Montana autumns, Roy found himself daydreaming less often about the place. (Epilogue.51-52)

Roy is finally getting used to living in Florida. Better late than never, eh? It doesn't mean he loves Montana any less. Instead, he's learning to like Florida more.

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