The Last Wolf by Mary Tallmountain
Speaker – the author, Mary Tallmountain
Occasion – a demolished city
Audience – the reader, the people of the city
Purpose – to challenge the reasoning of the people for “what they have done”
Subject – devastation
Tone – depressive
Literal level of meaning:
I think this poem describes a city destroyed by war. The protagonist and the wolf are the only
creatures still alive. The speaker is the only person who was wise enough to avoid war, and
that is why he/she is still alive.
Key examples of diction:
Warren – “a maze of passageways or small rooms” (merriam-webster.com)
Highrise – “of, relating to, or characterized by high-rise buildings ” (merriam-webster.com)
The language of “The Last Wolf” is cacophonious (“harsh-sounding”) because it describes the ruins of a city that was probably once beautiful.
An ambiguous phrase in this poem is the very last line “Yes, I said. I know what they have done.” Exactly what did they do?
Diction: Words that indicate sound- Echoes Sounds Voice Whine Snuffle Words that indicate movement- Hurried Past Passing Flicking Traffic Gait Ascending Came Trotted Laid Quivered
Allusions: “Montgomery Street”
Sensory details are sight-related: “wild loping gait”, “long gray muzzle”, “white spread”, “eyes burned yellow”, “small dotted eyebrows quivered”
City Imagery Wolf Imagery
Traffic signals Baying echoes
Warrens Wild loping gait
Elevators Low whine
Quiet Blocks Long gray muzzle
Eyes burned yellow
Dotted eyebrows quivered
Speaker – a person (maybe a child) in a ruined city
Occasion – speaking about the ruined city and “what they have done” to a wolf
Audience – those who ruined the city
Purpose – to increase public thought
Subject – a city in ruins
Tenative thesis This dramatic poem contains one specific theme that resonates throughout its whole: mistakes and their consequences. ———————————————————————————————- The language of this poem is formal. ———————————————————————————————- The trophe I found in this poem was metaphor. The entire poem is one big metaphor for death, destruction, ruin, etc… There is some inverted word order (Ex. “their elevators useless”. ———————————————————————————————- I am not sure what the rhythm would be for this poem, but the wolf is running, so it would probably be mid-tempo or fast. I don’t understand meter. ———————————————————————————————- The theme is gloomy and mysterious; the technique is descriptive. Every feature of the wolf’s face is outline, his gait revealed. Overall , the author focuses on the reader’s sense of imagination to entrap them in her world of “The Last Wolf.” ———————————————————————————————- This dramatic poem contains one specific theme that resonates throughout its whole: mistakes and their consequences.