Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Last Wolf by Mary Tallmountain

The last wolf hurried toward me throught the ruined city and I heard his baying echoes down the steep smashed warrens of Montgomery Street and past the ruby-crowed highrises left standing their lighted elevators useless Passing the flicking red and green of traffic signals baying his way eastward in the mystery of his wild loping gait closer the sounds in the deadly night through clutter and rubble of quiet blocks I hear his voice ascending the hill and at last his low whine as he came floor by empty floor to the room where I sat in my narrow bed looking west, waiting I heard him snuffle at the door and I watched He trotted across the floor he laid his long gray muzzle on the spare white spread and his eyes burned yellow his small dotted eyebrows quivered Yes, I said. I know what they have done. Analysis

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” (
Highrise – “of, relating to, or characterized by high-rise buildings ” (
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”


Key Details:

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.

Posted by Alyssa Ramer in 21:06:54

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