St. Lucy's Home For Girls Raised By Wolves

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In the short story “St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves,” author Karen Russell uses short epigraphs to provide a reference for characters’ progress throughout the 5 “stages” present in the story. The story follows a pack of wolf-girls who have been sent to St. Lucy’s, a facility dedicated to helping human children raised by wolf parents adapt to human culture. These “stages” represent the five chapters in the process of adapting, each of which begin with an excerpt, or epigraph, from The Jesuit Handbook on Lycanthropic Culture Shock. These epigraphs describe the emotions and difficulties that the wolf-girls are likely to experience, as well as how they are likely to act during the stage. In Stage One, the girls still acted as a pack,…show more content…
Jeanette “was the most successful of [the pack], the one furthest removed from her origins” (232). Because of her progress, she differed from the epigraph, not reacting as negatively to the new environment as the rest of the pack. For example, most of the wolves cringed at the new smells they experienced, but “Jeanette smiled and pretended like she couldn’t smell a thing” (232). This has both a literal and figurative meaning in the text, as it represents how well Jeanette was able to adapt in most circumstances, not just to new smells. However, there were times when even Jeanette suffered the trials described in the epigraph. One of the many trials the epigraphs describes is daydreaming. All of the wolves “spent a lot of time daydreaming during this period. Even Jeanette” (233). This reinforces that in Stage 2, while Jeanette was certainly ahead of the pack, she still had her own problems in adapting to human culture. While she made herself seem ahead, she was still really just a “wolf, disguised in sheep’s clothing,” and the contrast with the epigraph supports this distinction (232). These similarities and differences to the epigraph develop Jeanette as a hard working character who tries her best to cover up her wolf background, but still sometimes has
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