The story is told in first-person POV by the daughter, Dorothy. All of the events took place before her birth so she must have learned the details from her mother during her childhood. Immediately, we know that everything has been filtered twice, once through the mother and second through the
The story is about an Arctic explorer who marries and is obsessed on using a hot air balloon to make it to the Arctic. One of the themes stated from the outset: "What my mother said: we do what we can to make things stick." She gets pregnant on purpose because she is so lonely and her husband is leaving once again. Another theme could be said to be abandonment. "She does not know when my father's leaving turned from adventure to abandonment." "Not about the bears, but about the loneliness that struck her, sudden as a storm." She wants to tell him of her pregnancy and that pregnancy and birth is just as much of an adventure as his previous explorations. "What he is leaving behind is no different that what he is leaving for, she will tell him. A truth stranger than any magic: Inside her is the wildest land." And another theme or idea is that love, as life, be both positive and negative. "How terrible that love should contain such contradictions." And, that no one ever really belongs to anyone else and that it is folly to pretend it is so. "She ought to have known all along it is madness this business of belonging."
"North" is an interesting story in that it deals with Arctic exploration and the obsession some feel to undertake and explore the unknown. The POV is interesting as well. First-person omniscient but after the fact, as in told to her but not acknowledged as such.
"North" is the issue number 197 of One Story.