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meme1
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Re: Crows and Bears: Animals in the wild and in our imaginations

 


Rachel-K wrote:

 

We are hearing stories about animals all the time as the novel progresses, both through Cobb's observations, especially of moose and of crows on the river, and also from Mary's teaching and storytelling. Even when they meet, Mary identifies their behavior as if they were animals in the wild.

How are these stories and observations of animals being used in the novel?  I see these stories as Mary's (the author's) method of giving insight into human nature without seeming to give life lessons.  I've always liked the Native American stories and used them in storytimes with elementary children.  ~  I also like the author's use of the crows'/ravens' habits of alerting other members of their flocks to available food and also to danger.  This seems to portray the same way the girls take care of each other.

 

 

In what ways are the animal stories being used with the girls? Why do you think Mary has developed such a talent for this sort of story?  Oops.  Guess I incorporated this into my posting to the above question!:smileyvery-happy:

 

 


 

 

meme

~~ Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.

~~ Be careful reading health books. You may die of a misprint. Mark Twain
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ssizemore
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Re: Crows and Bears: Animals in the wild and in our imaginations


thewanderingjew wrote:

 


Rachel-K wrote:

 

 

What is Bunny's relationship to the Chungamunga girls?

 


Bunny symbolizes an escape route for the Chungamunga girls. She offers them a way to avoid their destiny and really become eternal on the water. Bunny is hope personified.

The legend tells us that Bunny was once a young girl who was given the opportunity to cheat death, by being transformed into a bunny. It also tells us that Bunny can become a girl again by giving herself to the falls, thus reversing the spell and fulfilling her destiny.


If Mary gave herself to the falls, was the bunny then, really a symbol representing her? Has the bunny symbolically jumped into the falls in order to become a girl again, namely Mary? Does Mary's death therefore also signal the death of the bunny? Will the bunny continue to greet the Chungamunga girls in years to come or Is Mary's death also the end of hope?


Does anyone else have any thoughts?

 


 

WOW~is that ever food for thought!  I definitely do see the sybolism of Bunny and Mary.  I do hope that we aren't facing the death of Bunny, though.  I want the Hope provided by the camp and the mythologies to also be eternal.  Loved your ideas!  Sandy

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BookWoman718
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Re: Crows and Bears: Animals in the wild and in our imaginations

I think Bunny doesn't represent Mary specificially, but rather a parable about the separate choices of each of the Girls.   Choosing to become a Bunny makes one safe from the ravages of disease, but only at the cost of becoming less (or non-) human.  Bunny is cute and adorable, but must run from danger and is at the mercy of other predators.   (The girls don't become Wolves if they choose to live without their disease, for instance.)  Mary is quiet and thoughtful as she answers about turning back into a girl.  Only by going over the falls, she tells them.  Going over the falls is the way she has chosen to meet her own death, a courageous and active taking charge of her destiny.  Not at all rabbit-like.  It may suggest that she believes her spirit will return in a fully human form, or it may simply indicate that the final act of controlling one's destiny is the truly human thing to do. 

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Bonnie_C
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Re: Crows and Bears: Animals in the wild and in our imaginations

From what I've learned through my backyard birding interest, crows are highly intelligent birds.  They are family oriented and survivalists..  Young birds take care of their younger siblings and older members of their colony.  This in itself may be a lesson to teach  these young girls;  that in order to survive, they need to help one another.

 

I found it interesting that the story of Madrid and Bunny are so opposite.  Madrid chose death rather than relinquish his prized possession.  Bunny was willing to give up all earthly possessions and chose life as a rabbit rather than die as a girl.

 

Bonnie

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Sunltcloud
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Re: Crows and Bears: Animals in the wild and in our imaginations

 

I've been feeding crows on my mother-in-law's deck and have noticed that their feeding habits follow a particular pattern. One, who is slightly bigger than the others but also limps, will sit on the oak tree for a while, then he will "test" the feeding site. He does not displace blackbirds, but seems to instill fear in a blue Jay who leaves immediately. This old crow will then call the other crows and they will eat for some time, surrounded by blackbirds. Occasionally they will fly back into the tree when they see me come out on the deck, but lately the big one will come back, look at me, and start to eat again. I've even started to take photographs of him without making him take off. And he definitely knows my mother-in-law who has been feeding crows for several years on her deck. When she sits on the deck he comes as close as four feet away from her. She is almost 98 and the crows are a big source of entertainment and joy for her.

Bonnie_C wrote:

From what I've learned through my backyard birding interest, crows are highly intelligent birds.  They are family oriented and survivalists..  Young birds take care of their younger siblings and older members of their colony.  This in itself may be a lesson to teach  these young girls;  that in order to survive, they need to help one another.

 

I found it interesting that the story of Madrid and Bunny are so opposite.  Madrid chose death rather than relinquish his prized possession.  Bunny was willing to give up all earthly possessions and chose life as a rabbit rather than die as a girl.

 

Bonnie


 

 

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LRH1223
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Re: Crows and Bears: Animals in the wild and in our imaginations

 


Rachel-K wrote:

 

Do you have a favorite story involving animals that Mary tells so far? My favorite story so far is on p. 113, the story of Madrid's death for what he loved the most.  I love the description "He died respendent." 

 

In what ways are the animal stories being used with the girls? Why do you think Mary has developed such a talent for this sort of story? Mary loves LIFE and being an anthropologist and having spent her life studying these animals, it has become such a part of her being that she not only loves them but lives the life!  She loves the outdoors and nature and loves the free-living style of the Crows!

 

Why does Mary identify so much with corvids?  I think she identifies so much with them because of their intelligence and their flair for life! They can be comical and yet dead serious when they want something. I loved the story of Madrid and his desire for the earrings! Giving up everything for what he wanted most. I think Mary admires that in them; and the fact that they are so social and sharing, alerting the others that would compete with them for a food source. I think she loves their flair for life.

 

Why is it that the characters seem to enjoy accusing each other of "being a bear in disguise?"  I think it's just a cute and endearing, little secret game they enjoy playing. It's theirs alone.

 

What is Bunny's relationship to the Chungamunga girls? I haven't gotten to Bunny yet. Next chapter!  But I absolutely love the Chungamunga girls!

 


 

 

"What we love, we shall grow to resemble."
Bernard of Clairvaux
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literature
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Re: Crows and Bears: Animals in the wild and in our imaginations

 


 

 

What is Bunny's relationship to the Chungamunga girls?

 

The story goes..."A rabbit is fertility and lives on its wit and speed.  They always feed Bunny.  It's possible a Chungamunga girl (possibly named Bunny) once turned into a rabbit to escape her destiny.  She was given a choice to remain human and live through her illness, or she could eat a few magical berries and turn herself into a rabbit.  Rabbits are food and can be harmed by other animals and that's why we are sworn to be kind to Bunny.  Chungamunga Girls will never harm her.  Bunny meant as nearly as much as a symbol to the Chungamunga Girls as a bear."

 

But more than a folklore, the concept of Bunny is something magical to believe in for the Chungamunga Girls.  If you look at the concept of Bunny intellectually rather than spiritually, the odds of Bunny succumbing to the elements could be greater or quicker than the odds of outliving their diagnosis.  We all need to have some pixie dust sprinkled on us at one time or another.

 

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Lisa1971
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Re: Crows and Bears: Animals in the wild and in our imaginations

I like how the animals are woven into the story. They show little bit of symbols that each character find holds true to themselves.

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PB684
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Re: Crows and Bears: Animals in the wild and in our imaginations


embersky_gemini wrote:

PB684 wrote:

Excerpt from Chapter 8:

 

"Can the spell be reversed? Can Bunny become a girl again?"

Mary thought about it for a moment. Then she answered quietly.

"Yes, if she goes over the falls," she said. "She has to believe she will be a girl again and surrender herself to the falls. That's why she remains here."

 

I'm wondering if this refers to a "leap of faith". Is Bunny, or Mary, afraid to make that leap? I'm interested to hear what others think about this passage.

Paula


 Death comes to everyone, and maybe it is easier to live a life not knowing when and how you will die than to live one knowing what will kill you and about how long you may have left.
I'm not exactly sure what I mean by that specifically, but somehow I feel that it has to do with acceptance.  Maybe death is the falls, and to go over them is to die, but in death bunny will return to being a girl, but it's scary and she would have to believe that it will be true.  Not sure, more ideas anyone?

 

 


I think this is exactly how Mary feels...good insight!:smileywink:

Paula

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HBT
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Re: Crows and Bears: Animals in the wild and in our imaginations

I loved all the stories Mary tells about the animals. My most favorite story is about the Bears. Then the stories about the crows, they are wonderful. The one about the bunny was nice. It is like giving the girls a way to escape their illnesses. 

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CharminKB
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Re: Crows and Bears: Animals in the wild and in our imaginations

I have read through many of the posts here and I think I fall in the majority with the earring story being my favorite.  I think Mary has a talent for story telling and does it well. 

I am also in agreement with a lot of the other readers concerning the "bear in disguise".....I originally thought that Mary talked about people being bears b/c of their appetites or size, but that didn't seem to fit in all situations.  If there is a real reason behind that little inside observance, I would love to know it:smileytongue

 

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jabrkeKB
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Re: Crows and Bears: Animals in the wild and in our imaginations

My favorite animal story is about how the crow turned from rainbow to black relighting the fires. I am enjoying all the references to crows, most people see them as a nuisance and don't look for beauty in them.

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maxcat
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Re: Crows and Bears: Animals in the wild and in our imaginations

eadieburke, could that be the answer that everyone is wondering why Mary kept asking Cobb if he was a bear. This whole bear situation has had me befuddled and your reading has sort of cleared some things up. Maybe the Author will clue us in on the bear vs. human element when he comes by next week.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep - Robert Frost
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literature
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Re: Crows and Bears: Animals in the wild and in our imaginations


Sunltcloud wrote:

 

I've been feeding crows on my mother-in-law's deck and have noticed that their feeding habits follow a particular pattern. One, who is slightly bigger than the others but also limps, will sit on the oak tree for a while, then he will "test" the feeding site. He does not displace blackbirds, but seems to instill fear in a blue Jay who leaves immediately. This old crow will then call the other crows and they will eat for some time, surrounded by blackbirds. Occasionally they will fly back into the tree when they see me come out on the deck, but lately the big one will come back, look at me, and start to eat again. I've even started to take photographs of him without making him take off. And he definitely knows my mother-in-law who has been feeding crows for several years on her deck. When she sits on the deck he comes as close as four feet away from her. She is almost 98 and the crows are a big source of entertainment and joy for her.

Bonnie_C wrote:

From what I've learned through my backyard birding interest, crows are highly intelligent birds.  They are family oriented and survivalists..  Young birds take care of their younger siblings and older members of their colony.  This in itself may be a lesson to teach  these young girls;  that in order to survive, they need to help one another.

 

I found it interesting that the story of Madrid and Bunny are so opposite.  Madrid chose death rather than relinquish his prized possession.  Bunny was willing to give up all earthly possessions and chose life as a rabbit rather than die as a girl.

 

Bonnie


 Hi Bonnie,

What just struck me odd with Bunny is why would someone want a life of always having to be on the alert for prey that would want to eat you?  How enjoyable a life would that be vs to die as a girl?  On the bright side, the Chungamunga girls would be around to feed you, when they were at camp.  I don't know.  I guess being Bunny just fits in nicely in the story.

 


 

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timetravel
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Re: Crows and Bears: Animals in the wild and in our imaginations

I wondered about this too.  I thought I had missed something in the story.

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ambika22
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Re: Crows and Bears: Animals in the wild and in our imaginations

Im also hoping that the Author explains the bear thing, maybe its like eadieburke says, but it would be nice to know how he came with that idea

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Peppermill
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Re: Crows and Bears: Animals in the wild and in our imaginations

 


ambika22 wrote:

Im also hoping that the Author explains the bear thing, maybe its like eadieburke says, but it would be nice to know how he came with that idea


 

I found this on The North American Bear Center:

 

 

Folklore

"Bears are part of human culture.  Perhaps no other group of animals has excited the human imagination in so many ways.  Although none of the popular images of bears reflect their true nature, they are referenced in mythology, folk songs, and children's stories.  Bear cartoons, stories, and paraphernalia have mushroomed in the last century.

 

"Black bear folklore is immersed in the folklore of bears in general, which often gives the relatively benign black bear an unfairly ferocious image.  Bears' teeth, claws, and size have led to their being portrayed in the role of modern dragons in tales of courage against danger.  Bears are also demonized in stories set in shadowy forests where fear of the unknown is an element.

 

"On the other hand, their humanlike characteristics, cloaked in fur, appeal to our soft side and inspire feelings of kinship.  Teddy bears are popular around the world.  Bears are among the first animals children recognize. 

 

"Native American lore refers to bears as brother, uncle, and grandmother and includes stories of bears becoming humans, and vice versa." {emphasis added} 

 

I haven't been particularly successful in finding relevant stories and myths, however.  Here are a couple of sites with Algonquian myths, which, if I remember my history correctly, was one of the tribes indigenous to Maine. 

 

Algonquian Cosmogony

 

Algonquian tales of New England

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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Zia01
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Re: Crows and Bears: Animals in the wild and in our imaginations

 


ambika22 wrote:

Im also hoping that the Author explains the bear thing, maybe its like eadieburke says, but it would be nice to know how he came with that idea


 

I really hope he does too. I am so curious about this.

 

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Frostbacksgirl
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Re: Crows and Bears: Animals in the wild and in our imaginations

Do you have a favorite story involving animals that Mary tells so far?

My favorite is about Madrid.

 

In what ways are the animal stories being used with the girls? Why do you think Mary has developed such a talent for this sort of story?

The animals stories are a great way to sneak in science without it being boring. Mary is a teacher afterall, so she knows what will get someone's attention, and what will not work.

 

Why does Mary identify so much with corvids?

They have overcome so much as the same as Mary.

 

What is Bunny's relationship to the Chungamunga girls?

Bunny was once a Chungamunga girl, and chose to become a rabbit to be free of her illness. So, Bunny visits the girls anytime they are near where Bunny lives.

~Sara~
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Bonnie_C
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Re: Crows and Bears: Animals in the wild and in our imaginations


literature wrote:

Sunltcloud wrote:

 

I've been feeding crows on my mother-in-law's deck and have noticed that their feeding habits follow a particular pattern. One, who is slightly bigger than the others but also limps, will sit on the oak tree for a while, then he will "test" the feeding site. He does not displace blackbirds, but seems to instill fear in a blue Jay who leaves immediately. This old crow will then call the other crows and they will eat for some time, surrounded by blackbirds. Occasionally they will fly back into the tree when they see me come out on the deck, but lately the big one will come back, look at me, and start to eat again. I've even started to take photographs of him without making him take off. And he definitely knows my mother-in-law who has been feeding crows for several years on her deck. When she sits on the deck he comes as close as four feet away from her. She is almost 98 and the crows are a big source of entertainment and joy for her.

Bonnie_C wrote:

From what I've learned through my backyard birding interest, crows are highly intelligent birds.  They are family oriented and survivalists..  Young birds take care of their younger siblings and older members of their colony.  This in itself may be a lesson to teach  these young girls;  that in order to survive, they need to help one another.

 

I found it interesting that the story of Madrid and Bunny are so opposite.  Madrid chose death rather than relinquish his prized possession.  Bunny was willing to give up all earthly possessions and chose life as a rabbit rather than die as a girl.

 

Bonnie


 Hi Bonnie,

What just struck me odd with Bunny is why would someone want a life of always having to be on the alert for prey that would want to eat you?  How enjoyable a life would that be vs to die as a girl?  On the bright side, the Chungamunga girls would be around to feed you, when they were at camp.  I don't know.  I guess being Bunny just fits in nicely in the story.

 


 


 

Hello Literature,

I agree.  But Bunny seems to be hanging in there....like the Energizer Bunny???

You also can't dismiss the success that Buggs has had with Elmer Fudd over the years.

 

Bonnie