Farley other Farley Mowat’s stories. Later he re-released

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Farley McGill Mowat (1921-2014) Canadian writer,
naturalist, conservationist, an environmental advocate was born in Belleville,
Ontario. He is an internationally acclaimed novelist, the author of many books
which have been translated into several languages. Wrote about isolated native
populations, such as the Caribou Inuits or about animal life, especially
threatened species. His creation includes “Lost in the Barrens”, a
winner of Canada’s Governor General’s Award, “The Boat Who Wouldn’t
Float”, “People of the Deer”, “The Snow Walker”,
“A Whale for the Killing”, “The Passion of Dian Fossy” and

“Never Cry Wolf” is Mowat’s most widely
known book, an autobiographical story about the study of Arctic wolves and his
solo mission adventures as a biologist in the Keewatin Barren Lands in northern
Manitoba. The book is credited with changing the stereotypically negative
perception of wolves as vicious killers. Mowat wrote: “We have doomed the
wolf not for what it is, but for what we deliberately and mistakenly perceive
it to be the mythological epitome of a savage, ruthless killer.”

As an actor, Charles Martin Smith played the main role
in Never Cry Wolf.  He had been affected
by involvement in making that film and decided to adopt another book of Farley
Mowat, The Snow Walker, by the man, he once depicted with. He chose “Walk
Well, My Brother” the short story. The reason for choosing was the
simplicity of the story, putting two different people against the elements of
the Northwest Territories. Screenplay contains some elements from “The
Blood in their Veins” and other Farley Mowat’s stories. Later he
re-released The Snow Walker. An anthology of short stories which included
“Walk Well, My Brother” and preface has been featured by Smith.

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“Walk Well, My Brother” is about of two
different cultures that forcibly come together in order to remain alive in the
frozen tundra. The short story illustrates how a person can get to know from
another person who is entirely different from them and be changed by their
arrogance and making him a good person. With a minimum of dialogue, it also
tells us the importance of not being prejudicial toward another people, culture
and religion and sends out a major message.

The main protagonist is the Charlie Lavery. He works
as a Pilot in the Yukon Territory, when the story starts. He served as a
Military bomber pilot during the war and counted on his capability of looking
after himself no matter what the circumstances. He is relying on technology. As
the author says, “he was very much of the new elite that believed that any
challenge could be dealt with by good machines in the hands of skilled
men”. Charles wasn’t familiar with the Arctic and the people that lived
there. He thought that he did not need this wisdom as long as he had his
reliability to machines. It was this ignorance made him feel revulsion them who
lived there because he was not acquainted with native’s way of life. When his
trustworthy machines were no longer of use, he had no experience to fall back
upon and entirely dependent on a first nation woman Konola to whom he felt deep
repugnance at first sight. His lack of ability care of himself made him to
co-operate and to try to get well this person who was so foreign to him.
Charlie behaves toward Konala with constant lack of courtesy over the journey.

The secondary protagonist is Konala. She is very sick
with tuberculosis. Her husband sent her to a hospital with Charlie to
Yellowknife. As a first nation woman, she shows respect and loyalty him over
the story, even when Charlie is mistreating her. As a native person she has
huge experience of how to remain alive in the wilderness and like Charlie, she
hasn’t had any dependence on technology. Konala values everything Charlie does
but he does not appreciate her at all. 
He prefers to eat beans from a can instead of taking a nice cooked fish
from her in order to demonstrate that he can manage things on his own. The
conflict finds a solution almost at the end of the story when Konala comes to
the aid of him, worn out in the fields and he gains her as a friend.

Charlie is angry, thinks only of himself, a resentful
individual who is self-absorbed. Furthermore, he is racist and sexist towards
Konala, due to her skin colour, because she is a woman and how she does things
differently in order to stay alive in the outdoors. After the plane crashes he
blames her for every single thing that goes not well. He humiliates Konala by
calling her ” a bloody albatross around his neck” and “eat it
yourself,  you animal” when she
offers him a food. Despite he had left her to die she still goes after him
throughout the Arctic in order to save him. Charlie gradually starts to show
respect this woman and he begins to realize that he was wrong. In the story
Charlie is asking himself; “Why had Konola not stayed in the relative
safety of the aircraft or else travelled north to seek her own people? What had
impelled her… to rescue a man of another race who had abandoned her?” It
illustrates how Charles still feels discrimination toward her and reason is her
race. He cannot imagine how she would follow a man of “another race”.
For Konola it is not as important and that is why she feels bounded to save his
life. Charlie is very touched by her kindness. She looked after him and treated
him back to health even though she herself wasn’t well. This astonished Charles
and altered him from a selfish person to a more caring one. It changed his view
of the local people and on how he behaved toward others. At the end of the
story, Konola becomes too ill and weak to care for herself. He starts to look
after her which give us evidence about his alteration because of their
condition and for everything she has done for him.

The turning point of the story happens when they meet
the bear, first vicious animal they have faced. Knowing they didn’t work well
together earlier and it’s the main test for Charlie to see how he has finally
matured enough to respect, to help Konala out.

The main symbol of the short story is Konala’s boots
which she was using. Knowing she is reaching her end, Konala gives the boots
she has been fine walking in over their journey to Charlie and leaves him with
the words “Walk Well, My Brother”. They have bonded with one another
like brother and sister.


Categories: Canada


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