Four Mountain Wolves Essay

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Barnhisel holds a Ph.D in American literature. In this essay, he discusses the mythical and symbolic underpinnings of "Four Mountain Wolves" and about its themes of melding and combination.

Leslie Marmon Silko's poem "Four Mountain Wolves" is at first glance a simple poem. It appears to be merely a description of a number of wolves who travel from the northeast to the southwest during a particularly harsh winter. But the poem is much more than this. The poem represents the close relationship with nature characteristic of Native American cultures. The wolf is violent, threatening, but portrayed almost flatly. Its threat is represented as something profoundly natural and normal. Rather than representing an imminent threat to humans, these hungry wolves are simply manifestations of the primal drives of nature.

The poem is also deeply involved with the symbolic geography and the cosmology of the Laguna people. Silko, of...

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This section contains 1,565 words
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Poetry for Students
Four Mountain Wolves from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.