Ex. 1. One of the following mini-paragraphs represents the view of the writer Peter Hedley about wolves. Which do you think it is?
a Wolves are savage predators who attack human beings. They hunt on their own and abandon their young at an early age.
b Wolves are hated by most humans, but in reality they are
sociable animals who love singing, playing and dancing,
с In stories, wolves are always portrayed as dangerous and bad
(as devils and werewolves) because of the way they behave in
d Wolves are beautiful beasts, but they make a terrible noise when there is a full moon.
Now read the text on the following page. Were you right?
Ex.2 Who or what:
a ... was the reason farmers didn't like wolves?
b ... is Little Red Riding Hood?
с ... is Peter and the Wolf}
d ... was the image of a wolf used for many years ago?
e ... do wolves use instead of frisbees?
f ... sometimes kills their own or their partner's children?
g ... killed his brother?
Language in chunks
3 Look at how these phrases are used in the text and then use them in the sentences which follow. You may have to change them a little to make them fit.
1 ashamed of themselves
2 for a start
3 get our hands on
4 in the end
5 just for the fun of it
6 they do their best
7 to keep out of our way
a Don't come anywhere near me. Just
b I didn't come yesterday because , after a long day, I just didn't have the energy.
с I don't mind if I pass or fail. I just want to
d I've always wanted to own one of Picasso's paintings. I'd love to one.
e Bungee-jumping isn't good for me or useful or anything. I do it
f Why do I want to leave my job? Well, I'm not enjoying it any more. But there are many other reasons too.
g Why did you cheat in your exam? You should be
How could we get it so wrong?
Recent controversies over the reintroduction of wolves to parts of the United States and Scotland yet again focus on one of nature’s most misunderstood beasts.
Peter Hedley takes up the story.
Once upon a time, much of the world was populated by wolves. They ranged all over the United States and Canada, Siberia and much of mainland Europe, as well as Great Britain, and if humans hadn’t come along, they would still be there in great numbers. But man did come along, farmed the land, objected to the wolves killing their livestock and so gradually drove them out of the homes that had once been theirs.
Wolves are not victims in our language and our literature, however. In fairy stories, they are seen as evil and dangerous, always ready to eat people. Remember the time when Little Red Riding Hood thinks that a wolf is her grandmother? ‘What big teeth you’ve got, grandmother!, she says, and the wolf, disguised as her grandmother, growls back sadistically, ‘All the better to eat you with, my dear!’ in Prokofiev’s musical fable Peter and the wolf, the old grandfather speaks for us all at the end when he says, ‘Ah, but if Peter hadn’t caught the wolf, what then?!’
In medieval times, the devil was often portrayed as a wolf, and the concept of a werewolf - the man who turns into a savage monster on the night of the full moon - is still a popular figure in both books and films.
If you really want to see how English-speaking humans think of the wolf, just look at the language! ‘A wolf in sheep’s clothing’ is not a pleasant person and a ‘wolf-whistle’ is not a pleasant sound! Yet wolves are totally unlike the image we have of them from legend and language. For a start, they don’t attack humans; indeed they do their best to keep out of our way. They are very sociable animals, living in packs and looking after their young with a fondness that should make some humans ashamed of themselves. Far from wolf music being ugly, the howl of the wolf-the cry of the whole pack - as the full moon rises in a star-bright sky is one of the most beautiful sounds in nature, wolves dance and play games like frisbee and tag with bones and twigs. They are beautiful creatures which can run at speeds of up to 65 kph if they have to. They can jump vertically and run up rock faces like a cat. And when they do kill, their 42 large teeth, exerting a pressure of 1,500 lbs per square inch, are fearsomely effective.
But the fact remains that we love the lion, the king of the jungle, another killer that spends much of its time asleep and often practices infanticide, while we demonise the wolf, one of the most beautiful animals in the world, only occasionally do writers treat them nicely; for exam pie, a she-wolf is supposed to have suckled the twins Remus and Romulus, who went on to found the city of Rome. If only the boys had stayed with her, perhaps they would have learnt to love and respect each other.
But instead they went back to the human world, Romulus killed his brother and Rome was founded in rivers of blood.
And so, while man kills animals in their millions, often just for the fun of it, the wolf on the mountain, out in the wilderness, running over the Siberian wastes, represents a state of natural grace that we do not know and can never obtain, even though we dream of it in our hearts. Perhaps that’s why, in the end, we hate the wolf so much - for having something we can never get our hands on.
The correct answer is b.
a because they killed their livestock
b a character in a fairy story
с a musical fable (by Prokofiev)
d the devil
e bones and twigs
a keep out of my way
b in the end
с do my best
d get my hands on
e just for the fun of it
f for a start g ashamed of yourself