The 's Home For Girls Raised By Wolves

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Historically, America is known for its “melting-pot” culture. We used to take everyone who wants to become an American, just as the plaque on the Statue of Liberty says: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” (Lazarus). Sometimes, however, this process also removes any trace of their previous culture. A German-descendant is only a German by ancestry, and any part of them that also defined this was removed via assimilation. But there is also a broader context, beyond that of the “cultural assimilation” America performs for its immigrants. It is the “education” schools do for its children. This education has larger, more detrimental effects that the author wants to define beyond the message of “cultural assimilation.” Karen Russell shows, through the plot of St Lucy 's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves, this process of education, its flaws and how it affects children.
In the beginning of the story, the wolf children are introduced to St. Lucy’s school. At first, they act in a barbaric fashion, not unlike little children who have no sense of what is ‘proper.’ The first way Russell shows this connection is through the beginning of the education process, which is what the wolf girls’ parents desired for their children. She describes that they “wanted them to use towels, get braces and be bilingual,” or that these werewolves want their child to learn something and become better than them (Russell 227). This is the reason why children are sent to school in the first place: to learn new things and become more successful than their parents. However, the consequence of this action is that their child is no longer raised by them exclusively. Most simply believe they are no longer taught exc...

... middle of paper ... and understood nothing, thereby resulting in a panic like Claudette’s. Although the situation blows over, this cites a contention brought up in Stage 5, informing the reader that “they find it easy to move between the two cultures,” meaning they find it easy to adapt (Russell 245). It was made clear by Claudette that this was not the case, because she panicked and failed to adapt at all in the end.
It is clear Karen Russell has a few contentions with the current state of education, and her short story is her subtle way of pointing them out. Education treats all children as if they were “uncivilized”, and restricts their growth, personalities, creativity and nearly everything that shapes them. America is certainly a “melting pot,” in that respect: a bland soup that has no defining qualities from the ingredients that were there, nor from the ones that were added.
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