American Wolf (Blakeslee) - Discussion Questions

Discussion Questions
We'll add publisher questions if and when they're available; in the meantime, please use our LitLovers talking points to help start a discussion for American Wolf … then take off on your own:

1. Start, perhaps, by putting the wolf in a historical context. Talk about the wolf's place in American history: the original numbers at the beginning of colonization, the eradication programs, the wolf's near extinction, its listing and de-listing as a protected animal.

2. What have you learned about wolves after reading Blakeslee's book? What do they feed on, how do they survive the harsh landscape and winters, what are the social hierarchies within their packs or between packs? Did anything surprise you about them, their behavior, their food sources?

3. In what way does the wolf reflect this country's cultural/political divide? Talk about the various factions … and lay out their respective points of view regarding the rights of wolves to populate and propagate in the West.

4. What side of the argument do you place yourself on? Does Blakeslee do a good job of giving all sides a say — is he fair? Can you understand the points on the opposing sides, even if you might disagree with them?

5. Follow-up to Question 4: if there's a hero in the book, who would it be?

6. Is there a foreseeable solution to the wolf problem?
 
7. Ed Bangs, the Fish and Wildlife biologist who had directed the wolf recovery project since 1988, once observed that "What we normally mean by "education" is, I want someone else to know as much as I know so they'll have my values" (131 p.). Is that how you see the idea of educating the pubic — more as a means of rhetorical persuasion than providing information? Or do you believe Bangs's view is bit cynical? If so, then what does educating the public mean? Or what should it mean?

(Questions issued by LitLovers. Please feel free to use them, online or off, with attribution. Thanks.)

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