Books and Movies Reviews

The Clan of the Cave Bear

Many people are familiar with the ancient picture of cave-dwellers being the hairy, gruff bully of a man, dressed in animal skins, club in hand as he drags a female back to his cave.This drastic picture is not what one would get while reading Clan of the Cave Bear.The tale is a little more picturesque, but equally brutal, nonetheless; when it comes to the role of male versus female.Beatings, rape and humiliation are just a few of the realities dealt out to the females of the clan, especially to a woman who is “misbehaving” in a man’s eyes.Several themes came to mind while reading Auel’s book: Nature versus Nurture and Gender Roles/Feminism seemed to be the most prevalent.
When we say “nature versus nurture” the question usually arises, is the way we behave more controlled by genetics or the environment? In Clan of the Cave Bear the clan seems to survive by tradition and memory only, there is no new or other way to do things for them. The rules they follow, the beliefs they have about the spirits and gender roles are followed so precisely that the clan has become incapable of changing their ways and cannot adapt to new situations. For example, when it comes to the hunting, only men hunt, women do not and should not hunt no questions asked.The women are also ingrained to be submissive and physically cannot learn to do new things. When Ayla entered the Clan, it forced them to think about things that have been lost to memory; it makes them question their society, their traditions. Ayla is different and has a natural instinct to rebel against the Clan’s original ways because to her they do not make sense. For Creb and Iza, she tries to behave as a model Clan woman and abide by the ancient ways, however; they do not come naturally to her so she struggles and resists the traditional roles of a woman. The Clan does punish her for her disobedience, but other Clan women see that females can hunt, heal and stand up to abuse and explo…

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