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A READER'S TREASURY

The Mammoth Hunters
by
Jean M. Auel

Earth's Children Series
Chapter: Reading for Enjoyment
Published by Bantam Books/NY in 1986
A Book Review by Bobby Matherne ©2000

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In this third series, Ayla and Jondalar meet the Mamutoi, the mammoth hunters and join in their hunt. Jondalar meets some relatives of his and is welcomed. Ayla learns a new word "liar" and explains why she had never encountered the concept of lying before. When one uses gestures, both facial and bodily to express one's communication, there is no possibility for lying and no way to express the concept is required. When one speaks with words primarily and gestures secondarily, lying becomes a possibility. Here's how Ayla expressed her confusion when she encounters the concept of lying.

[page 41] there was a strained silence. Ayla was looking from one to the other, confused. The word "liar" was unfamiliar to her, and she did not understand why Frebec said he didn't believe her. Ayla had grown up among people who communicated with movement. More than hand sign, the Clan language included posture and expressions to shade meanings and give nuances. It was impossible to lie effectively with the entire body. At best, one could refrain from mentioning and even that was known, though allowed for the sake of privacy. Ayla had never learned to lie.

Auel's stories are wonderfully didactic in addition to be entertaining. Here's an example: beads. The making of beads provides an example for understanding cooperation, decoration, and invention.

[page 376] Only a cooperative, well-organized group could plan and store enough necessities ahead to ensure the leisure to make beads. Therefore, the more beads they wore, the more it showed that the Lion Camp was a flourishing, desirable place to live, and the more respect and status they could command from the other Camps.



      Earth's Children Series by Jean M. Auel

               1. The Clan of the Cave Bear
            2. The Valley of the Horses
         3. The Mammoth Hunters
4. Plains of Passage
      5. The Shelters of Stone
  6. The Painted Caves




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