Two People Trying To Outwit The Other: A Wolf Story

I found Wolfland to be an extremely entertaining read.  I was especially taken with the transformation of Lisel, although not entirely surprised by it.  Throughout the story evidence of Lisel being more than just the typical, proper, selfish, city girl is seen.  Moments of defiance and willfulness are evident from the beginning.  She strikes out at the wolf on the ride to the chateau, she defies her grandmother by not going to bed early and instead remaining awake and reading a Libertine, or as the story puts it, “lurid novel…confining her attention to those portions which contained duels, rapes, black magic, and the firing squad,” and she also, naïvely believes she can outwit her grandmother and escape.  Lisel, while a flawed and selfish character, is not weak by any means.  Her becoming a werewolf in the end, under the unwanted influence of Anna, was to me her accepting her true nature.

While it can be argued that she is controlled by her grandmother and has no choice in the matter of becoming a werewolf, it can conversely be argued that she was attempting to control her grandmother.  Lisel’s primary goal in coming to the chateau was to inherit Anna’s wealth.  There was no social or familial reason for visiting.  She wanted money, Anna wanted a werewolf heir.  Both have an ulterior motive and, in the end, both got what they wanted.

                On a side note, I was also intrigued by Anna recommending that Lisel only use a man to have a child she can pass on the wolf-gene.  This compares to the age-old idea of using a woman to pass along the male’s side of the family genes and name and I thought it was interesting that this was brought up in the story.

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2 Responses to Two People Trying To Outwit The Other: A Wolf Story

  1. sponnada says:

    Hi j,

    When I was reading through Wolfland, I found myself thinking of Lisel’s transformation into a werewolf to be her acceptance of her true self, as well. I think it’s really interesting that you think Lisel was actually the one trying to control her grandmother. I totally see where you’re coming from with this idea, but I’m not entirely sure if Lisel was trying to control her grandmother as much as her grandmother was trying to control her. It seemed to me that Lisel did have selfish ulterior motives, but her nature wasn’t as controlling as Anna’s. In fact, we see signs of Anna’s dominance in the very beginning of the story when Lisel is on her way to visit Anna, and is basically forced to ditch the guards her father sent with her to be accompanied by Beautiful and the driver (I’m pretty sure it was them?).

    Obviously, we both have slightly different reads of the story. But I definitely think the points you raised were really good. They made me reevaluate my interpretation of Wolfland.

  2. sponnada says:

    Also, I like that you brought up the part with Anna telling Lisel to use a man to have a child. I was curious to know more about that, as well. I don’t know why, but I felt like Lisel and Anna may not have been “straight.” That could just be me though. I like to read way way deep into things and basically just assume that no one is straight because our world is excessively heteronormative, and that needs to change.

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