In Never Cry Wolf, why was Farley paralyzed with fear in the last chapter of the book?

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In "Never Cry Wolf", author Farley Mowat recounts his assignment to study the rapid and devastating decline of the caribou population in the Arctic wilderness of Canada. The events described took place in the 1940s and recount a timeless struggle between man and nature.

The reason for his...

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In "Never Cry Wolf", author Farley Mowat recounts his assignment to study the rapid and devastating decline of the caribou population in the Arctic wilderness of Canada. The events described took place in the 1940s and recount a timeless struggle between man and nature.

The reason for his being sent on the expedition in the first place was to study the effect of the wolf population on caribou. Hunters were asserting an overpopulation of wolves that was endangering the future of caribou hunting for the natives. In the process of carrying out his investigation he concludes that he is caught in the middle of a conspiracy on the part of the hunters to remove their natural competition, the wolves, so that they can simply profit more. The method they utilize to accomplish this end is to perpetuate the stereotype of the wolf as the monstrous beast of legend, a reputation that Mowat concludes is completely unjustified.

At the end of the book, as Farley explores a wolf den, he finds it inhabited by a female wolf and her cub. The encounter brings about no injury or threat, but the author is devastated by the fact that had he been armed at the time, he might well have killed the innocent wolf and her cub merely as a response to the deeply held yet unfounded impression of these amazing animals, in spite of his conclusions to the contrary.

The inexplicable depth and strength of prejudice in the human heart is indeed a fearful thing to contemplate, whether it's directed toward the animal world or our fellow humans.

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