Assimilation to the Society in St Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves

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Time continues to pass; and yet with each passing era humanity continually seems to be terrified, and equally fascinated, by the realm of the supernatural. Creations of literary over the centuries have plagiarised what has provided a means for indulging in this fantastical dominion and has ultimately created concepts such as the vampire, ghosts, witches, and wizards. Karren Russell’s short story St Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves integrates the idea of the supernatural creature, the werewolf, and how one must decide whether they are a werewolf or human, as well as the difficulty it takes to decide. The use of setting in the short story- the idea of home, the woods, and the convent school, help to comment on the nature of society and the idea that whatever happens in life, one must never lose their compassion, as well as how in order to fit in, you must first assimilate into humanity. 

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Karen Russell uses the setting of the convent school in the short story in order to pose the question of whether, even though we may not like to admit it, change is difficult and an uncomfortable experience… one which we must all endure at some time or another during our lives. The girls are forced to learn how to assimilate into the new ways of the people around them in order to be aaccepted into the influencing society that has been around for centuries. Despite the changes that society constantly faces, they are able to assimilate into the new cultures and ways of life, and the setting of the convent school in the short story aims to express how the nuns, despite being displayed as evil, have the intention of helping the girls prepare for life outside of the convent once they leave. The line in the short story, “I swim with all my strength. No superhuman surge, or pony heroics; it’s just me at my most desperate.” Helps to emphasize the role that personality plays in the development of a person’s life and the difficulty that people face throughout their lives, despite those who try to stop them. Ultimately, Russell’s use of the setting of the convent school in the short story St Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves expresses the importance of change, and helps to convey the idea of the difficulty of change yet how in order to have a sense of belonging and fit into society, we must all have the willpower to change.

Throughout St Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves, the idea of how in order to fit in you must first assimilate into society is emphasized by the line “We had terrible posture… we went knuckling along the wooden floor on the calloused pads of our fists baring row after row of tiny wood-rotted teeth”. This idea is supported by the setting of home which is introduced at the start of the short story. Throughout the short story we, the readers, are questioned on whether there really can be differences in society, or whether everyone has to, in some way or another, find some part of them that will give them the right to be accepted. For the girls in St Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves, the challenge is to leave their “wolf nature” nature behind and become “normal”, civilised human beings. This is portrayed by a further idea that understanding the same language as everyone else in society makes assimilating to new surroundings easier. The setting of “home” also emphasised the importance of family, and this situation is relative to real life instances, such as immigration, with those moving to other countries hoping to improve their lives and they must, therefore, learn the ways of the new people in the world around them. The setting of “home” also stresses the role that family play in a person’s life, whether it be good or bad, “The nuns swept our hair back into high, bouffant hairstyles. This made us look more girlish and less inclined to eat people.” Once again, this links back to the nature of a werewolf.

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