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Teaching and Learning

Home  >  Teaching and Learning  >  Ordinary Wolves  >  Discussion Questions
Chapter 16

Chapter Summary:  Cutuk finally meets up with Dawna, but it's far from romantic. She's got a jerk for a boyfriend, who appears to be fueling their relationship with his fast car and cocaine. Cutuk gets high with Dawna and then flees. He steals her car and rides through town. When he returns to January's house he meets Cheryl the neighbor girl. He tells her his name is Clayton and they quickly become friends.

Discussion Questions:

Why is Cutuk so critical of Dave?

Points to Consider:

  • Obviously he loves Dawna, so he's not likely to find much that's redeeming in any boyfriend she might find. Also, Dave represents the outside world, and he is a personification of all that is wrong with the fake world that Cutuk views as Anchorage. Dave is also a jerk, that or he's jealous of Cutuk.

Discuss Cutuk's observations of needless waste in the city.

Points to Consider:

  • In one example (p. 184), Cutuk ponders why the city has so many lights needlessly left on.

What do you think Cutuk is getting at when he questions Dawna about Melt and Newt's schooling background?

Points to Consider:

  • Perhaps he is trying to understand why Melt and Newt dislike white people so much. He's learned about boarding schools and is probably thinking that the men might have had bad experiences at the hands of white men.

Why does Kantner use Anchorage and other real Alaskan place names but not real village names in Northwestern Alaska?

Points to Consider:

  • Perhaps because he grew up there and doesn't want people to try to associate his fictional village and characters with real people and real villages.

What role do alcohol and drugs seem to play in altering Cutuk's personality and why are they so prevalent in this story?

Points to Consider:

  • Alcohol and drugs seem to remove Cutuk's inhibitions, but they also force him to leave his principles. For example, he steals Dawna's car and races through town, not really knowing what he's doing. He contemplates destroying the car, but as he sobers up he begins to reconsider the environmental impact of ruining the vehicle.
  • Drugs and alcohol are part of this story, because Kantner is depicting a very real aspect of Alaska, as the state has some of the highest rates of chemical abuse and dependency in the nation.

Why does Cutuk introduce himself as Clayton to Cheryl? (p. 192)

Points to Consider:

  • Perhaps he thinks that having a non-Native sounding name will make him more attractive to the girl.


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