St. Lucy's Home For Girls Raised By Wolves, By Karen Russel

1139 words - 5 pages

Whether one would like to admit it or not, change is a difficult and not to mention uncomfortable experience which we all must endure at one point in our lives. A concept that everyone must understand is that change does not occur immediately, for it happens overtime. It is necessary for time to pass in order for a change to occur, be it days, weeks, months, or even years. The main character, who is also the narrator of “St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves”, realizing that “things felt less foreign in the dark” (Russell 225), knows that she will be subject to change very soon. The author makes it evident to readers that the narrator is in a brand new environment as the story begins. This strange short story about girls raised by wolves being trained by nuns to be more human in character is a symbol for immigration, as the girls are forced to make major changes in their lives in order to fit in with their new environment and adapt to a new culture.
A language barrier is a major disadvantage to those who are foreign to a particular place or culture. The variances of languages can make it even more difficult for people to adapt to new cultures and environments. The girls raised by wolves in this story face this obstacle as soon as they move from an environment of wild animals to an environment of civilized human beings. In “St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves”, the girls are forced to learn the human language since they only know how to speak “the Wolf”. The narrator, whose English name is Claudette, describes how “we [the girls] were all uncomfortable and between languages.” (Russell 229). According to the narrator, “it took me [her] a long time to say anything; first I [she] had to translate it in my [her] head from the Wolf”. (Russell 235). Saying a simple “thank you” is extremely difficult for these young ladies, as they jumble words together and growl every now and then since their main language consists of what seems to be just growls and howls. This situation is relative to real life instances of immigration, as those moving to America with the hopes of improving their own lives and the lives of their family members are, in some cases, unfamiliar with the English language. Therefore, they must somehow learn the ways of the new people surrounding them in order to be accepted in this environment and also be able to communicate with others so they can attempt to obtain jobs to support themselves and family. Understanding the same language clearly plays an important role in assimilating to new surroundings.
The change of appearance and dress of the girls in “St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves” also reflects the idea of fitting in. At the beginning of the story, the girls are extremely unkempt and uncouth: “We had terrible posture… we went knuckling along the wooden floor on the calloused pads of our fists, baring row after row of tiny wood-rotted teeth.” (Russell 242). By the end of their training to become more civilized...

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