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Of Wolves and Men

Of Wolves and Men

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Originally, distinctions were made among subspecies on the basis of cranial features, pelage (fur), relative size, and geographic distribution. The form that the book takes, in and of itself, with the photographs and paintings, poetry and anecdotes, promotes simply in its form different ways of knowing this subject.

In southern Canada and Minnesota the black phase is more common than the white, but grays predominate. The Indian was so well integrated in his environment that his motivation was almost hidden; his lifeway was as mysterious to white men as the wolf’s. From the descriptions of the “conversation of death,” as Lopez describes several encounters between wolves and prey that do not fit expected patterns—and how domestic prey animals like sheep and cattle have had this conversation bred out of them—I begin to understand more of this relationship. The context that Lopez brings up in this section places humans and wolves in a sphere that it’s nearly impossible for us—or me—in 2011 to fully understand. With irresistible charm and elegance, Of Wolves and Men celebrates careful scientific fieldwork, dispels folklore that has enabled the Western mind to demonize wolves, explains myths, and honors indigenous traditions, allowing us to understand how this remarkable animal has become so prominent for so long in the human heart.A trapper in Minnesota, a man who had caught hundreds of wolves in his life, looked at one in a trap one day and judged its weight at "eighty-five or ninety pounds. The cover may have some limited signs of wear but the pages are clean, intact and the spine remains undamaged. I understand the need to hunt, to keep the balance of the ecosystem, to hunt the food that will feed us through the winter. You can change your choices at any time by visiting Cookie preferences, as described in the Cookie notice.

The earliest Aesop in Greek is one from the second century by Babrius, but it shows the effects of his having lived for a while in the Near East.

There is something deep-seated in men that makes them want to “take on” the outdoors, as though it were something to be whipped, and to kill wolves because killing a wolf stands for real triumph. In a hunter society, like that of the Cheyenne, traits that were universally admired—courage, hunting skill, endurance—placed the wolf in a pantheon of respected animals; but when man turned to agriculture and husbandry, to cities, the very same wolf was hated as cowardly, stupid, and rapacious. People have always killed predators but ‘ the history of killing wolves shows far less restraint and far more perversity.

They scare each other by pouncing on sleeping wolves and by jumping in front of one another from hiding places. In North America, and elsewhere, as human civilization affected the distribution and food habits of wolves -- by killing buffalo, for example, and putting domestic cattle in their place on the ranges -- various subspecies of wolf interbred and the purity of gene pools, such as they were, was altered. While reading the story Barry Holston Lopez was describing what the wolf looked like, he said:"The wolf weighs ninety-four pounds and stands thirty inches at the shoulder. The wolf’s coat is “ luxurious… consisting of two layers… By placing muzzle and unprotected nose between the rear legs and overlapping the face with the thickly furred tail, wolves can turn their backs to the wind and sleep comfortably in the open at 40° below zero. And another wolf, one that lived in the Danube River Valley and was apparently distinct enough to be classed as a subspecies, was eliminated before any specimens were examined.This type of stylistic shift is characteristic of how the environmental critic Lawrence Buell has described Lopez, as a “roaming” ethnographer, “gleaning insights more from interdisciplinary study and place-based informants…than from staying put” (69). These days, I’m hooked on ABC’s Once Upon a Time, which has made me think of Red Riding Hood and the wolf in a different way. And then he ascends the rock face, bounding and balancing momentarily before bounding again, appearing slightly unsure of the process -- but committed. His fur carries seeds that will fall off, effectively dispersed, along the trail some miles from where they first caught in his fur. It was not, astonishingly, until the early 1940s that anyone took a serious, scientific look at wolves, and in some parts of Eurasia (where they are still regarded as beasts of blood and darkness) specific information on their numbers, locations, and habits is lacking even now.

Seventeenth-century Europeans commonly referred to a lump that might announce breast cancer as a wolf. Although this example may seem a bit vague, it provides an image within the reader’s mind of what that particular situation may look like. By using the Web site, you confirm that you have read, understood, and agreed to be bound by the Terms and Conditions.

When Paul is talking about being bombed and having to use gas masks to breath he says “I climb out over the edge of the shell-hole. Another example of imagery within the book is the quote, “Predicting Divorce, like tracking Morse code operators, is pattern recognition. At a time when no one knew anything about genetics, the idea that a child suffering from Down’s syndrome—small ears, a broad forehead, a flat nose, prominent teeth—was the offspring of a wench and a werewolf was perfectly plausible.

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