Blues Ain't No Mockingbird Questions and Answers
by Toni Cade Bambara

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Why might the author have chosen to describe the men as "wolf men"?

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"Wolf men" is an appropriate term for the filmmaker visitors, both for the way they physically appear and for what they represent to the other characters of the story.

The cameramen clearly were not wanted by Cora the grandmother, who along with her husband, owns the land on which the cameramen are unlawfully trespassing: "I said to tell that man to get away from here with that camera."

We find out from the narrator that the men had been "roamin around all mornin." The men call Cora "aunty," which she later makes clear she does not appreciate. Cora informs the men in no uncertain terms that she does not want them on her property and asks them to stop filming. They ignore her requests, demonstrating a lack of compliance and regard toward her authority. Their attitude is demeaning. Once in response to her, one of them replies condescendingly "now, aunty," as if he were reasoning with a child.

The men's defining physical characteristic, according to the narrator, is their insincere smiling. In fact, the narrator gifts one man with the moniker Smilin. The final time these unwanted men smile, they are "pullin the mouth back and showin teeth." It is not difficult to associate these disrupters with the character of the wolf in Little Red Riding Hood. On the outside, the men appear with their smiles to be respectable, while in reality, they demonstrate vicious character and have to be run off in much the same way.

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