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Teaching and Learning

Home  >  Teaching and Learning  >  Ordinary Wolves  >  Discussion Questions
Chapter 8
Chapter Summary: 
With Iris gone away to college, Cutuk moves to Takunak for school. He lives with Dawna and Stevie in the Wolfglove house. Life is complicated there with Melt drinking and Cutuk hiding his love for Dawna. Melt Wolfglove resents having a white boy living in the house, while his wife Janet seems to realize the boy's need for a mother. Dawna reveals that she's leaving the village as soon as she can because she's tired of the abuse and life there. Nippy and Elvis pick a fight with Cutuk. Cutuk overpowers Elvis and for once Cutuk comes out on top.

Discussion Questions:

What does Cutuk see through going to school in Takunak and living with the Wolfglove family?

Points to Consider:

  • Cutuk witnesses the social and domestic turmoil of the village firsthand. Outside influences, such as technology and alcohol, are replacing traditional life. Melt is an abusive drunk who spends the family money on alcohol.
  • What Cutuk sees makes him want to return home and escape the violence, the drinking, and the chaos around him.

Why does Cutuk constantly "flatten" his nose? (p. 100)

Points to Consider:

  • He's trying to flatten and broaden his nose to look more Inupiaq, at the same time diminish his prominent "white" nose. The strange action reveals how awkward he feels about himself and the desire he has to not stand out from his peers.

What does Dawna mean when she says "this is some kinda no-place to be from?" (p. 102)

Points to Consider:

  • Through broken English, Dawna is revealing how difficult growing up in the village is for a young woman. She's already a victim of attempted rape, not to mention the abuse she takes at home.
  • From her magazines and television, and her interaction with outsiders like Alicia, she imagines that life away from the village would be better.

What do you think Cutuk's fight with Elvis proved? (p. 103-104)

  • He learns that he can fight back, but he also learns that he has the respect of Stevie. He "basks in the lee of scorn," and relishes having the tables turned.


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