Sunday, November 09, 2014

Into the Wild by Erin Hunter

Into the Wild (Warriors Series #1) , Erin Hunter. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2009. e-book, 205 pps.

     I have seen the extensive postings from readers on the B&N site under reviews in which they pretend to be sentient felines from various clans. I didn't understand the motivation for such scribbles until I started reading Into the Wild.

    Rusty was a typical indoor outdoor house cat with stirrings of his wild nature. He was hunting mice when he was attacked by  Graypaw, a young kit in ThunderClan. There are four clans-- ThunderClan, ShadowClan, WindClan, and RiverClan, plus a farm cat who is clan-less-- inhabiting the forest and fields around it. The book, first in a series, deals with the adventures of Rusty and his changing fortunes. It also delves into the problem facing all four of the feline clans.

     A most interesting concept for me was how Erin Hunter used re-naming in order to indicate change in status of an individual cat in a clan. The ritual of naming and accepting membership into any community is one that is rich in tradition and narrative of homo sapiens. Who we call ourselves says something about who we are. Those folks with some forms of personality fragmentation have parts with different names and characteristics. When the associated trauma is too deep, integration may occur with one of the sub-personalities at the forefront who is known by a different name other than the one given at birth. Nicknames also may be telling. They may be a shortened or modified version of a legal name like John to Jack, an endearment such as Little Grandma, a sign of status as in Michael Junior or Chatsworth III. Rusty himself is endowed with two name changes as he transforms himself into a warrior of ThunderClan.

sapphoq reviews says: As a result of reading Into the Wild, I have stopped flagging the reviews at the B&N site that role-play being a feline in a clan. I now understand why people do this. The pull to create one's own animal story (also reflected in lycanthrophy, vampyre lore, and Otherkin) is a theme that has been written about extensively in the fantasy genre. Cats that are more than what they seem had a certain appeal to me. Into the Wild was an excellent read for this adult fan of Mercedes Lackey and her Valdemar series. The series is suitable for pre-teens and teens. Highly recommended. 

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