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Teaching and Learning

Home  >  Teaching and Learning  >  Ordinary Wolves  >  Discussion Questions
Chapter 6

Chapter Summary:  Enuk disappears and Cutuk searches for him. Iris returns from Fairbanks and tries to talk Cutuk into going to college with her the next year. He's not comfortable with the idea of city life. Abe travels to the village for supplies and news of Enuk. He returns and reveals Enuk is still missing. Abe has sold a painting to pay for Iris's college tuition. Iris leaves when the spring ice breaks up.

Discussion Questions:

How does the sixteen-year-old Cutuk feel about Jerry and Iris moving away?

Points to Consider:

  • He misses them and seems to resent their departure from his life. He struggles with the idea that they won't be living together forever. Their life outside seems foreign and odd.

How are Abe's feelings about pop representative of his feelings about consumer culture in general? (p. 72)

Points to Consider:

  • Pop costs money, is bad for teeth, and wastes aluminum. Consumer goods in general, in Abe's view are unhealthy, expensive, and wasteful.
  • Cutuk finds he's practicing Abe's ideology without knowing it, by not purchasing pop when he can.

Why do Iris's stories of city life create such turmoil for Cutuk? And why does he react with anger when she asks him to come to Fairbanks with her? (p. 74).

Points to Consider:

  • He feels insignificant and ignorant. He wants to share stories of his own experiences on the land but can't get them out because they seem "boring" when compared to her stories of root beer, pizza, and dancing.
  • Cutuk worries about his unfamiliarity with people and with city life. He's conscious of how he walks and talks differently and feels like the land is all he knows.

How are Franklin and Abe alike? (p. 76)

Points to Consider:

  • The two men have distaste for what consumer culture and the government are doing to the land. They both have chosen to remove themselves from society for ideological and philosophical reasons.

What role are Iris's dreams and "feelings" playing in the novel? (p. 77)

Points to Consider:

  • The dreams are foreshadowing, but as they occur in the novel, they build a sense of foreboding and ill things to come. Cutuk internalizes Iris's dreams and dwells upon them, allowing the sense of doom to heighten the novel's tension.

Why does news of Enuk missing hit Cutuk so hard?

Points to Consider:

  • Cutuk laments the fact that he didn't get to tell Enuk of all his hunting exploits. More importantly, Enuk is Cutuk's idol and he desperately misses the stories and knowledge the old man would share with him.

Discuss the role the developers and the "Sara Clubbers" play in Abe's view. (p. 81)

Points to Consider:

  • The two groups are fighting for control of the land, one to destroy it and the other to lock it up from those who wish to live on the land as Abe and Cutuk do. The threat of pollution and intrusion from outsiders looms on the horizon.

What internal struggle does Cutuk's hunt for Enuk reveal? (p. 82)

Points to Consider:

  • He points to his longing to tell his stories to Enuk, as him being an "Everything-Wanter," which is his shame in being selfish.
  • His fruitless search has him questioning himself and his uncertain future.

Discuss the complexity of the relationship between Iris and Cutuk. (p. 88-89)

Points to Consider:

  • Iris is the only female that Cutuk spends time around. He longs to be with Dawna and sleeping near Iris adds to that sexual tension. The two are close and Iris tries to educate Cutuk about life outside, trying to assuage his fears.

Examine Cutuk's dream of the villagers falling through the ice. (p. 88)

Points to Consider:

  • This is a combination of sexual tension and anxiety. He imagines walking with both Dawna and Iris. Being embarrassed after kissing, and then stumbles out looking for Dawna only to find the village standing on the ice as it breaks up. He's desperate to belong and be loved, and his desire creates the destruction of everyone he knows.


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