St Kucy's Home For Girls Raised By Wolves Summary

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Karen Russell uses epigraphs from The Jesuit Handbook on Lycanthropic Culture Shock to organize her short story, “St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves.” The epigraphs provide short descriptions of how the humans running the school think the girls will develop at particular stages of the girls’ education. Each epigraph is followed by the memories of Claudette, the narrator of the story, who was a student at St. Lucy’s. Claudette’s development sometimes mirrors the stages described in the epigraphs, but often differs in significant ways. As a whole, the epigraphs do not reliably describe Claudette’s development. The epigraph suggests that new students will be happy during the first stage of their education at St. Lucy’s, because “everything is new, exciting, and interesting” for the students (p. 225). Claudette describes the fun she has with other members of a pack as they explore the environment of St. Lucy’s, as the girls spray “exuberant yellow streams all over the bunks” (p. 225), but this fun is mixed with anxiety, as when the girls sense “some subtler danger afoot” (p. 228) when the nuns approach the girls to give them names. Claudette’s enjoyment of the new environment at St. Lucy’s is therefore mixed with fear and discomfort.…show more content…
240). The epigraph suggests that by this stage, the girls will be adjusting smoothly to the demands of St. Lucy’s. The events of this part of the story reveal how different Claudette’s experiences of Stage 4 are from the handbook’s descriptions. During Stage 4 the nuns organize a Debutante Ball for the wolf-girls and Claudette struggles to meet the expectations of the dance, including her disastrous efforts to perform the Sausalito. This results in her becoming “just a terrified animal again” (p. 243), which makes it clear that Claudette is still not comfortable in human
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