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Two Old Women

Two Old Women Cover

ISBN13: 9789865947866
ISBN10: 9865947862
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sinsalcbg, February 24, 2014 (view all comments by sinsalcbg)
Wallace, Velma. “Two Old Women” (New York: Harper Perennial, 2013).
The two old women in this story belong to the Gwich’In people of Alaska. Wallace’s story, first published in 1993, is the written version of a folk tale she learned from her own ancestors.

The tale of “betrayal, courage, and survival” is written in a lovely and simple narrative that can be read quickly as it adds up to only a small volume. The author does not identify the time period in which the legend is supposed to have taken place but she goes so far as to state that it took place before Western cultures arrived.

In this pre-contact era, the Gwich’In natives depended for their livelihood solely on what they could catch or gather, including food. There were good years and bad ones and so this natural cycle constitutes the setting for a chronicle of desperate survival in a frozen white world.

Left behind in a food emergency by their people, due to their advanced age, not having expected it, the two old women are shocked at first. Soon enough they will themselves to survive but not without pained sacrifice. It is a fine story and like most legends it rings like a morality tale aimed at emphasizing the best in human endeavor. A nice “read.”
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Ye Ren/Tsai Fong Books
Readers - Chapter Books
Wallis, Velma
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Two Old Women
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