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Never Cry Wolf by Farley Mowat

Powerful Essays
Never Cry Wolf by Farley Mowat

For my book report, I have chosen the novel Never Cry Wolf by Farley

Mowat. In this report I will give a brief summary of the novel as well as why I

have chosen it for my report. Finally, I will give my reactions to the novel

with regards to its analysis of the place of human beings in nature, whether the

destiny of humans and nature is intertwined, and how nature is regarded by the

different religious and political philosophies demonstrated in the novel.

Never Cry Wolf is based upon the true story of the author's experiences

during two years spent as a biologist studying a family of wolves in northern

Canada during the mid nineteen fifties. When Mowat is sent on his expedition

his goal is to bring back proof of the wolves decimating effect on the northern

herds of Caribou. After arriving at the remote location, he finds a group of

wolves and begins his research. He then discovers the differing peculiarities

of the wolves and finds that they are more than the savage and merciless hunters

that he had previously believed them to be. He discovers that they are in fact

a very efficient and resourceful and have their own distinctive culture. For

example he discovers that they in fact have a symbiotic relationship with the

caribou in that they keep the caribou population strong by hunting down only the

sick and weaker members of the herd. This leads to a situation where the

strongest caribou survive and thus the herd is made stronger. As well they

have their own social orders that ensure peaceful co-existence with one another

instead of being reduced to fighting amongst themselves. Before Mowat's

excursion conventional wisdom thought that that was the only interraction that

the wolves were capable of. In his group he finds a monogamous pair who are

raising their litter with assistance from another male wolf who Mowat terms to

be an "uncle". His previous assumptions which portrayed the wolves as cold

heated killers who lived only for the hunt, is challenged as he observes these

animals play and interact within their environment his previous assumptions

about the role that these animals play in nature. His attitude metamorphosis'

from one of disdain and contempt to one of genuine respect and admiration.

I chose this novel for study instead of Siddhartha because I felt that

this nove...

... middle of paper ...

...Cry Wolf is that of the

native Americans of northern Canada. Their philosophy, as presented by Mowat is

one which views humans as only being a fraction of the total importance of

nature. In their culture they are taught to have reverence for nature and to be

efficient in their use of natural resources. This philosophy causes them to see

wolves, not as bloodthirsty menaces, but as animals simply fulfilling their role

in the natural chain.

In conclusion I believe that Never Cry Wolf illustrates the various

beliefs that different people have about nature and the environment. Mowat also

effectively demonstrates how these beliefs influence people's interaction with

nature. Finally, Mowat leaves no doubt that humans do have a large and

sometimes traumatic impact upon nature. However with his experience changing

Mowat's own change of thinking, we see that it is possible for humans to correct

the error of their humanistic thinking. This can particularly be seen in

Mowat's closing sentences...

"I thought of Angeline and her pup cowering at the bottom of the

den where they had taken refuge from the thundering apparition of

the aircraft, and I was shamed." (P.175)
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