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Teaching and Learning

Home  >  Teaching and Learning  >  Ordinary Wolves  >  Discussion Questions
Chapter 2

Chapter Summary:  Wolves steal their supply of meat, but Abe is too focused on painting to care. Jerry and Cutuk worry about going hungry. Abe takes Iris hunting and Jerry and Cutuk are left behind to haul water and wood. Cutuk reads Jerry's diary and Jerry bloodies his nose. Cutuk reveals that Iris seems to have some sort of sixth sense and is hitting puberty. Abe and Iris return empty handed to find Enuk visiting again.  Abe takes Cutuk hunting and Abe shoots a moose. Cutuk asks his dad why he burns his paintings, but doesn't get an answer that satisfies him. Cutuk has to stay with the moose carcass and wolves circle in the darkness. Cutuk chooses not to shoot, despite his desires.

Discussion Questions:

Why is "wasting" a bad word in the Hawcly household? (p. 24)

Points to Consider:

  • Abe wants his children to grow up being conscious of their actions and attitude towards the land. He wants them to live simply and "wasting" is breaking his rules.

What special gift does Iris seem to possess? (p. 27)

Points to Consider:

  • She seems to have a sense of the future and of things to come.

Discuss Enuk's relationship with Cutuk.

Points to Consider:

  • Enuk shares stories, teases, and teaches the young Cutuk.
  • Cutuk admires Enuk's wisdom and hunting abilities.
  • Enuk shares traditional Inupiaq knowledge with Cutuk. For example, he explains slitting the wolf's throat to let the spirit return in another wolf.

Why might the Inupiaq think of white people as "having no relatives?" (p. 31)

  • The white people who come north are alone, and relatives rarely if ever visit. This lack of family might lead local people to believe the outsiders have no relatives.

How is Abe molding Cutuk into an "unhero?" (p. 31)

Points to Consider:

  • Abe is instilling in Cutuk his ideology and love for wolves and the land. With such feelings, Cutuk will be unable to kill indiscriminately and garner the fame he desires.

What internal struggle does Abe reveal to Cutuk when they are hunting? (p. 37)

Points to Consider:

  • His parents divorced when he was young. He didn't have it in him to shoot wolves. He started the plane engine before his father flew away and died in a crash. The engine sounded funny but he didn't tell his father because he knew the man wouldn't listen.

Discuss the anguish that Cutuk feels at the end of the chapter with the wolves circling. (p. 42)

Points to Consider:

  • He struggles with the decision to not shoot a wolf. He knows that shooting the wolves might help him fit in to the village more, and he hears their taunting voices. He's also aware that he's an "Outsider" when it comes to the knowledge of the land the wolves possess. He's caught between his father's teaching and his desire to fit in.


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