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Home  >  Teaching and Learning  >  Ordinary Wolves  >  Discussion Questions
Chapter 15

Chapter Summary:  Cutuk rides his bike to Anchorage's Dimond mall in search of a date. On the way he gives a panhandler some money. At the mall he wonders through the mirrored walls of consumerism.  Instead of a girlfriend, he finds Charley, who has traveled to town to collect a car he supposedly won. The car prize was a scam. Charley and Cutuk visit like friends, each grateful to have someone from home to visit with. Charley leaves and Cutuk gets the guts up to call Dawna. He reluctantly agrees to visit with her and her boyfriend.

Discussion Questions:

Discuss Cutuk's reaction to Joe's joke. (p. 172)

Points to Consider:

  • The teasing about his sister pushes Cutuk over the edge. He doesn't understand the slang, though he's incredibly literate, so the joking leads him to act out. He threatens Joe by telling him that when people get mad in Takunak the victim is permanently scarred.

How does Kantner use media and tidbits of consumer culture to establish the date of each chapter?

Points to Consider:

  • Kantner deftly weaves bits and pieces of news with brand name objects and contemporary pop icons to place each segment. References to US presidents often mark each decade.

What does Cutuk's interaction with the man panhandling say about his character? (p. 175)

Points to Consider:

  • Cutuk has grown more and more like Abe. He distrusts the man, but still stops and gives him money. He's got a pure soul.

What does the shopping mall experience do to reinforce Cutuk's feelings about consumer culture?

Points to Consider:

  • He's surrounded by the selling and buying strange and useless goods. He also sees photos of animals that sell for half the price of skins. He links shopping with women and beauty and longs for companionship, but then ties that longing to consumerism.

Why do you think Cutuk takes so long to call Dawna?

Points to Consider:

  • Perhaps he wanted to be settled in and to show her that he could also be successful in the city, as he was on the tundra. He also thinks that he needs to give her something special to show his love and he needs to earn the money to do that.

Discuss Cutuk's chance meeting with Charley. (p. 177-178)

Points to Consider:

  • Charley, the constant swindler, has been swindled himself. Cutuk realizes that in Anchorage their roles are changed. Charley treats Cutuk nicely. They have a strange sort of kinship in Anchorage that definitely doesn't exist in Takunak.

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