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Teaching and Learning

Home  >  Teaching and Learning  >  Ordinary Wolves  >  Discussion Questions
Chapter 4

Chapter Summary:  The Hawclys travel to the village for supplies and mail. Bruce Lee films have brought a new style of violence to the village and Cutuk bears the brunt of this with all the kids wanting to fight him because he is white and therefore different. His crush on Dawna escalates when she gives him a love note.  They stay at the Wolfgloves' home and Enuk gives Cutuk a small ivory carving of a bear.

Discussion Questions:

Why are the village kids so cruel to Cutuk? (p. 44)

Points to Consider:

  • As a young Caucasian, Cutuk is an easy target for their frustrations and for practicing their Bruce Lee karate moves.
  • Cutuk isn't big enough or tough enough to put up a good fight yet.

Why do Iris and Cutuk relish going to the village, despite the abuse and the staring? And why does Jerry feel differently? (p. 46)

Points to Consider:

  • Iris and Cutuk long for interaction with people other than family. For Jerry the people in the village represent concern for his dogs and he knows he'll have to protect Cutuk.

What is Cutuk's perspective of village life?

Points to Consider:

  • Education seems more about learning to fight than book learning. Those who live outside of the village are "out" of touch and the "opposite" of lucky. His every action and body features are scrutinized.

Why does Cutuk feel "wrong" inside his body? (p. 50)

Points to Consider:

  • Constantly picked on for his physical features and longing to be Inupiaq combine to make him hypersensitive to what makes him physically different from the other kids in the village.

What social issues are revealed in Cutuk's observations of the village?

Points to Consider:

  • Alcohol abuse with the vanilla shipments.
  • Anger and violence from the kids, including Lumpy torturing and killing puppies
  • Racism
  • The prevalence of suicide and gun accidents

What is ironic about the Hawclys' existence compared to the Wolfgloves'?

Points to Consider:

  • Abe and the kids live more like traditional Inupiaq than the Wolfgloves, who have modern appliances and modern technology.

How are the Spenholts and the Hawclys different? (p. 56)

Points to Consider:

  • The Spenholts don't participate in subsistence activities and are "native-worshippers" who are fascinated with the culture but don't partake in it.
  • The Hawclys live outside the village and live off the land and eat native foods.

How is Iris different than Cutuk? (p. 53)

Points to Consider:

  • She understands something about why the villagers are reacting the way they do to the white children. She suggests to Cutuk that the kids just know what is "inside" of the Hawclys.

How does Enuk's story about the spirit being/animal attacking him explain something about the kids attacking Cutuk? (p. 66)

Points to Consider:

  • Enuk's story reveals the spirituality the old man has towards the land and the white wolf, but it also explains something about why the kids beat up and constantly fight with Cutuk. They are "mad" because they are "mixed up inside" with all the turmoil and struggle of village life and the changes happening to their culture.


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