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Teaching and Learning

Home  >  Teaching and Learning  >  Ordinary Wolves  >  Discussion Questions
Chapter 19
Chapter Summary: 
Jerry and Cutuk head to Fairbanks. Cutuk works for Jerry and he begins to understand how Jerry survives in the city. They attend a lecture on an anthropological dig near their home and it is rife with inaccuracies. Cutuk leaves the lecture angry. The two get drunk on top of a dorm building and Cutuk contemplates jumping off the building. He decides against it, and learns more about Abe and his mother. Jerry tries to talk him into staying in Fairbanks, but he has decided to head back.

Discussion Questions:

Why do you think Cutuk decides to go with Jerry?

Points to Consider:

  • Jerry is one of the only people who know how Cutuk feels, and perhaps because Cheryl is gone and he's tired of the job he has and would like something new.

Is it wrong that someone like Cutuk can't legally hunt walrus under the Marine Mammal Protection Act?

Points to Consider:

  • Consider that he's using the meat, fat, and hide, and not selling the ivory for profit. Does that change the argument? Why do you think marine mammals are not a part of the subsistence debate?

How is Jerry's view of consumerism and capitalism different from Cutuk's? (p. 220)

Points to Consider:

  • Jerry is resigned to the fact that life will revolve around money, while Cutuk holds Abe's sentiments about wasteful living and the consumerist society.

Examine Jerry and Cutuk's reaction to the anthropology lecture. (p. 221)

Points to Consider:

  • They point out her romanticized or idealized characterization of the Inupiaq. Her lecture doesn't mesh with the reality that Jerry and Cutuk grew up with.
  • Cutuk is angry, but doesn't speak out. Which Jerry points out is an Inupiaq trait.

How might Cutuk's thoughts on suicide explain Alaska leading the nation's suicide statistics? (p. 224)

Points to Consider:

  • Cutuk's suicidal impulses read genuinely for those who grow up in parts of rural Alaska where suicide is commonplace. The sense of having nothing and being nothing when compared with the televised visions of what American life is like, combined with alcohol and drugs, frequently leads to suicide.

How does this drunken scene differ from the other scenes with alcohol and drugs? (p. 224-225)

Points to Consider:

  • Cutuk really connects with his brother and has a chance to learn more about his history. He doesn't do anything rash or against his nature, like he does in previous altered states.

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