Clan of the Cave Bear

May 16, 2007

This document is a series of comments on Clan of the Cave Bear. It is intended to get a better feel for the flow of action, timing, and relationships. Also, there are some general comments.

General Comments

Durc

The biggest failing I see has to be the paragraph that should have been included in the final scene. Ayla has talked with Brun, and reentered the cave. She is packing her thing, preparing for a long trip.

Replace, She picked up Durc's carrying cloak and held it to her face, feeling the tears well up. She'd have not need for it, she wasn't taking Durc. She packed it. At least she could take something that had been close to him.

With, She picked up Durc's carrying cloak and held it to her face, feeling tears well up. She thought, 'Should I take Durc?' No, Durc was of the clan. Durc had a mate arranged, and she did not know if the Others would accept Durc either. No, she would not take Durc. She packed it. At least she could take something that had been close to him.

The reason is that she could have taken Durc. Who would have stopped her? But then, the reasons given above were reasons for not taking Durc. Not mentioned is one other reason, she did not know if she would ever succeed in finding the Others, but then, I doubt she would have thought of the possibility of failure.

In addition, there is one reason for taking Durc, and that is Broud. While Broud existed, Durc was not totally safe, particularly as leader.

What this does is it illustrates the absolute total defeat of Broud. Brun eulogises to Broud that he has lost, and Ayla has won. Although Broud Cursed her with death permanently, beat her, did all within his power to appose her, yet when she left she was totally in control, and Broud was forced to acknowledge her; Broud had no control.

Birth and death of Ayla

Ayla was found by Iza, but actually, the girl found was Alexandria (Of course this fact is not known until my first sequel), but Creb could only hear and say this as Ayla. This was the birth of Ayla.

One could say that Ayla's encounter with the Cave Lion was the beginning of the labor pains.

I would say that once she got up before talking with Brun, the rest of the story it is Alexandria rather than Ayla that is talking. She did not yet know the name, but she was very much acting the part. Ayla is a woman of the clan, and, although she does not always succeed, she tried to play the part. Alexandria is a woman of the Others. Ayla could not have walked up to Broud and told him off as she did. Clan women don't do that. But Alexandria of the Others could, and would.

Once Broud cursed her with Death, Ayla died, but in her place was a new woman, Alexandria, a woman not of the clan, but of the Others. They just happened to look alike. The first sequel tries to make this point clear.

Another point in the sequel is that Ayla could not have come back, but Alexandria could. Ayla was cursed with death, but Alexandria was not. Ayla, being a woman of the clan, would have stayed with the clan, but Alexandria could go home to her own people. The question was, where were her people, and what were they like.

Caves

The book Clan of the Cave Bear appears to have a misconception about caves and earthquakes. Natural cave very seldom collapse due to earthquakes. While I have not lived around natural caves, this is obvious. Earthquakes appear along fault lines. That is, every earthquake, given total knowledge, could be traced to the slipping of a fault. Some faults are more active than others, but since every earthquake fault is due to continental plates interacting, and a little thing like an earthquake is not going to stop a moving continent, any place were there is an earthquake will likely have many more both before and after, some probably worse than the current one. The net result is that any natural cave that was going to collapse during an earthquake probably would have collapsed before. That is, earthquakes would cause the rocks to settle to a fairly stable position.

This cannot be said of man-made caves, and, indeed, when you see stories of tunnels collapsing, it is always a man-made tunnel.

That said, however, natural caves due collapse sometimes. Specifically, Indian Cave State Park in Nebraska has an Indian cave. It is noted that the natural cave actually collapsed over the last 150 years for reasons I am not aware of.

The appearance of stalactites and stalagmites should be a very good omen for a cave. Stalactites and stalagmites take a long time to develop, so the cave must be very old, and therefore not very likely to collapse. Not all old caves will have stalactites and stalagmites, however.

Disease

With the lower population density disease would be unknown unless there are non-human carriers, and even then it would be rare. The reason is that if someone got a disease, say a cold, then all the people in the local chan might get it, but it probably would not be communicated to the next clan, so the disease would die out. I suspect that Tubuculosis is such a disease, so Iza would probably not get TB because it probably didn't exist.

Psychology of the Neanderthal

It is obvious to me that the author is using the Jungian idea of mass unconscious to get the psychology of the clan. That is, the idea of racial memory, that people could communicate through some form of mind-melding, etc. I would note that I do not believe in these ideas, and that Jung got in trouble for expressing them, as they are, ultimately, racist. If the mother is one race, and the father another, then what race are the children, in this case, particularly with regard to racial memories.

On the same note, it is obvious that Brun has an INTP personality type (Myers-Briggs), Broud is ESTJ, and Ayla is INFP. I have not typed the others, although Iza is probably NF, and Creb is INF.

The reason I believe Brun to be INTP is that Brun makes well thought out decisions, but he sweats over them, he does not jump to conclusions. In addition, when he has to make a decision he does so by going off by himself to consider the alternatives.

Broud is probably ESTJ because he is so set in his ways. He decided he does not like Ayla for reasons that did not indicate a tendency to consider alternatives. Yet, he cannot understand why everyone does not agree with him. He jumps to conclusions, and is quite vocal about letting people know about them. At the end he was capable of holding keeping his peace when he saw that that was what was required of him. Yet, as leader he was very conscious of his own status.

Ayla is probably INFP. She is NF, as only a person who is NF can care about other people as much as Ayla. Other personality types will, but at some point they give up and start seeing the reality that they have to care about themselves. She is introverted because otherwise she would not have been able to tolerate the days by herself when she was collecting herbs for Iza. Also, like a typical perceiving person, she was willing to push the envelope on the rules, even going beyond them just for the joy of the doing. A judger would have never picked up the sling, as that was against the rules. (Excepting if there was a reason, such as a need to learn self defense.)

I suspect this is also the personality type of the author.

Language:

I have read a book on anthropology which points out that Neanderthal speech was probably as varied and vocal as modern human. With almost the same size brain this is believable.

Homo Erectus (I believe) in the other hand, used more grunts and gestures.

I have to note as well from my own observation that modern people also use words and gestures to say what they mean. It is said, however, that the spoken part it the language and the gesture part is body language. The former is taught in school, but the latter is learned at home with no schooling.

Keeping this in mind, it would be true that even the Homo Erectus really were not that far from where we are at, its just that their language was rather simple. Seen in this light, I suspect that other animals, perhaps most, have a spoken and gesture language. I observe this in my cat Tiger, who has different meows for different occasions. In addition, there are some gestures that mean something. (If his ears are pointed back, be careful, he is about to do a pounce, usually with teeth and a bite coming up.)

Similarly, at one time I had a talk with one of my parakeets. He (I think it was the dominate male) didn't like the food dish I was using, so he expressed this idea very well with body language. I hear them talking almost all the time, and suspect that they are frustrated because I cannot enter into the conversation with my low pitched voice.

The main point here being that in all likelihood the Neanderthals probably did use spoken and gestures in communicating, but the gestures would probably have been independent of the spoken words.

Time line:

This section is an attempt to find out exactly what happened when. For example, if the clan gathering was every 7 years, then there must have been a clan gathering the year before Ayla was found. Otherwise Ayla would have gone to a clan gathering very early on.

Times are measured from the day that Ayla was found.

-30 - Creb was born (It may have been earlier.)

-20 - Iza was born.

-12 - Broud was born.

-11 - Goov was born.

-5 - Ayla is born, although that is an estimate.

-1 - There was a clan gathering this year.

0 - Ayla is found. The cave is found and dedicated. Broud had his manhood hunt, which should give a good idea as to the age of Broud. Since the clan members are sexually active at about age 8, and it mentions that there are some boys who are sexually active but not yet men, this would place Broud as born at -9 or -10.

+1 - Uba born. Ovra and Goov mated. Droog and Aga mated. Ayla learns to count.

+2 - Iza's TB starts.

+2 - Ayla starts practicing the sling.

+2 - Ayla is almost beat to death by Broud.

+3 - Ayla starts her medical training.

+3 - Creb has a toothache.

+3 - Ovra's baby is stillborn.

+3 - Ayla's testing by Broud

+3 - Igra born to Ika and Crug

(I've decided to make the year change in the spring despite some inconsistencies that will arise.)

+4 - Ayla starts to hunt.

+4 - Ayla and the lynx

+4 - Groob born to Aga

+5 - Trip to the seashore, Ayla rescues Ona.

+5 - The mammoth hunt, Ayla is found out.

+5 - Ayla is Cursed with death the first time.

+5 - Ayla starts to hunt legally. Ayla is 10 years old.

+5 - (Late) Puberty for Ayla.

+5 - Ovra has had several misscarriages.

+5 - No unmated young men.

+6 - Ayla sees her reflection.

+6 - Ayla pregnant

+7 - Durc born.

+7 - Clan gathering. Iza, Aba, Dorv, and Zoug stay home. Aba and Dorv missed the last one.

+7 - The clan gathering Ayla went to was this year.

+7 - Iza and Dorv died.

+8 - Brun and Broud admit (but not to each other) that if Broud cannot control his temper he cannot be leader.

+8 - Broud vows to hide his hatred of Ayla.

+8 - Uba puberty

+9 - Uba and Vorn mated. Uba has stillborn baby.

+9 - Borg and Ona mated.

+9 - Grod made Durc's first spear.

+10 - The final scene (early in the spring).

+14 - The clan gathering after the one mentioned in the book.

Members of the clan:

This will include information about the members, including parents, mate, and children.

Died in the cave in, no name given:

  • Iza's mate.

  • Son of Grod and Uka.

  • Aga's mate

  • Droog's mate. Goov's mother.

  • Woman from another clan.

Alive at year 0 or beyond.

  • Ayla. She is the main character, not mate, adopted by Creb and Iza. Son: Durc, born +7 (Broud was the father, though he would not recognize it). Her totem was the cave lion.

  • Iza. She adopted Ayla. Her totem is the saiga antelope. Her mate was killed in the initial cave-in, but Creb acted as a mate. Creb was her sibling, and therefore could not be her mate. Brun was also her sibling. Born in year -20. Medicine woman of a long and distinguished line. Died +7.

  • Brun. Leader of the clan until the last day when he gave leadership to Broud. Mate was Ebra, children Broud. His totem is the Bison. Siblings Iza and Creb, Creb is older than Brun.

  • Creb. Mog-ur. Totems: Cave Bear (as Mog-ur) and Roe Dear. Born before -30. Deformed. Died +10.

  • Grod. Second-in-command. Totem: Brown Bear. Mate Uka. Father of Ovra. Zoug's son.

  • Ebra. Mate was Brun. Children: Broud. Sister of Uka.

  • Goov. Born -11. Acolyte, became Mog-ur on last page. Mated to Ova (+1). Auroch Totem.

  • Broud. Son of Brun and Ebra. Born -12. Totem is Wooly Rhinoceros. Mated with Oga (+1). Son Brac (by Oga) +2, Durc (unacknowledged) +7.

  • Aga. Mate killed in cave in. Has two children, Vorn and Ona. Her mother Aba lives with her. Mated to Droog (+1). Son Groob born +4.

  • Oga. Mother killed in cave in, Father died in hunting accident. Born between -7 to -10. Mated with Broud (+1).

  • Borg. Born -1. Totem is the Boar. Son of Crug and Ika. Mated to Ona +9.

  • Ona. Born -1. Totem is the Owl. Daughter of Aga and her 1st mate. Mated to Borg +9.

  • Droog. Father of Goov. Toolmaker. Mated to Aga (+1). Totem is Auroch. Son Groob born +4.

  • Vorn. Son of Aga and 1st mate. Born -4. Mated to Uba +9.

  • Aba. Mother of Aga. No mate mentioned.

  • Uka. Mate of Grod. Ebra's sister. Mother of Ovra.

  • Zoug. Grod's father. Retired from Second-in-command.

  • Ovra. Daughter of Uka and Grod. Mated to Goov (+1). Totem is Beaver.

  • Crug. Mate Ika, son Borg. Daughter Igra born +3.

  • Ika. Mate Crug. Son Borg. Daughter Igra born +3.

  • Dorv. Father of Ika. Died +7. Oldest member of clan.

Born in the new cave.

  • Uba. Iza's daughter by her first mate. Born +1. Puberty +8. Mated to Vorn + 9.

  • Brac. Son of Broud and Oga. Born +2.

  • Groob. Son of Aga and Droog. Born +4.

  • Igra. Daughter of Crug and Ika born +3.

  • Durc. Son of Ayla and (unacknowledged) Broud. Born +7. Totem is Gray Wolf.

  • Ura. Son of Oda from another clan. Born +7, will joint the clan +14 at the next clan gathering.

  • Grev. Son of Broud and Oda. Birth date is not given.

Members of the Clan at the end

  • Brun. Leader of the clan until the last day when he gave leadership to Broud. Mate was Ebra, children Broud. His totem is the Bison. Siblings Iza and Creb, Creb is older than Brun.

  • Grod. Old Second-in-command. Totem: Brown Bear. Mate Uka. Father of Ovra. Zoug's son.

  • Ebra. Mate was Brun. Children: Broud. Sister of Uka.

  • Goov. Born -11. Acolyte, became Mog-ur on last page. Mated to Ova (+1). Auroch Totem.

  • Broud. Son of Brun and Ebra. Born -12. Totem is Wooly Rhinoceros. Mated with Oga (+1). Son Brac (by Oga) +2, Durc (unacknowledged) +7.

  • Aga. Mate killed in cave in. Has two children, Vorn and Ona. Her mother Aba lives with her. Mated to Droog (+1). Son Groob born +4.

  • Oga. Mother killed in cave in, Father died in hunting accident. Born between -7 to -10. Mated with Broud (+1).

  • Borg. Born -1. Totem is the Boar. Son of Crug and Ika. Mated to Ona +9.

  • Ona. Born -1. Totem is the Owl. Daughter of Aga and her 1st mate. Mated to Borg +9.

  • Droog. Father of Goov. Toolmaker. Mated to Aga (+1). Totem is Auroch. Son Groob born +4.

  • Vorn. Son of Aga and 1st mate. Born -4. Mated to Uba +9.

  • Aba. Mother of Aga. No mate mentioned.

  • Uka. Mate of Grod. Ebra's sister. Mother of Ovra.

  • Zoug. Grod's father. Retired from Second-in-command.

  • Ovra. Daughter of Uka and Grod. Mated to Goov (+1). Totem is Beaver.

  • Crug. Mate Ika, son Borg. Daughter Igra born +3.

  • Ika. Mate Crug. Son Borg. Daughter Igra born +3.

  • Uba. Iza's daughter by her first mate. Born +1. Puberty +8. Mated to Vorn + 9.

  • Brac. Son of Broud and Oga. Born +2.

  • Groob. Son of Aga and Droog. Born +4.

  • Igra. Daughter of Crug and Ika born +3.

  • Durc. Son of Ayla and (unacknowledged) Broud. Born +7. Totem is Gray Wolf.

  • Grev. Son of Broud and Oda. Birth date is not given.

Age of events in the life of the clan

0 - Birth

7 days - Naming ceremony (Ayla was 5) This indicates acceptance by the clan.

0/1 - Revealing totem (Ayla was 5)

7 to 10, 8 mostly - Puberty

11/12 - Manhood hunt. After manhood hunt a man learns what the memories are.

Age count

This indicates and alternative method of counting time - that was similar to the Roman idea of naming days of the month (like we currently do for months) rather than counting them as we do now.

  1. Birth year

  2. Walking year

  3. Nursing year

  4. Weaning year

Miscellaneous

  • It was about 7 days from the time Iza found Ayla until her naming ceremony, or so Iza thought. Since they were at the cave 3 days before going inside, it is doubtful, however. (But then, people of the clan cannot count higher than 3.)

  • Cold weather does not cause colds. This is a currently held superstition, since the term cold just means there is little or no fever. Cold will cause Hypothermia. (See note on Disease above.)

  • Also, when the Spanish first came to the Americas, the natives had no immunity to the common cold. To me this indicates that the common cold probably did not exist at the time the Americas were first populated, and certainly not 35,000 years ago. (See note on Disease above

  • Was Creb half cro magnon? He has a large head, and was born around the time a Cro Magnon hunter broke his arm and was treated by the first Uba, Creb, Brun, and Ika's grandmother.

  • Clan gathering every 7 years, last at -1, next at 6, and 13, making Ayla 11 at the first, and 18 at the second. (Note, when the actual count of winters is compared with the stated time, it looks like this might be 0, 7, and 14 with Ayla being 12 at the first and 19 at the second. The time line is slightly screwed up.)

  • Womanly skills are learned by age 7 or 8.

  • It takes 10 days to get to the Mammoth hunting grounds.

  • The results of the poll taken by Brun was: (The question, should Ayla be cursed with death? [the first time]) Grod: Yes, Droog: No!, Crug: yes, Goov: No!, Broud (as expected) Yes!, Zoug: No!, Dorv: yes, Creb: No.

  • Durc's future mother-in-law's name is Oda. She is from a clan up north. Her totem is the hamster.

  • Durc's future mate's name is Ura, and she was born +7, and will join the clan at the next clan gathering.

  • There were 250 people from 10 clans at the clan gathering. There were many clan gatherings.

  • Since the other clans know about where the cave is, it would not be difficult for a good runner to find it.

  • There are a lot of Others to the north on the mainland. That is where the man Iza's grandmother healed was from.

  • As children, Durc beat Grev at running, and Grev beat Durc at wresling.

  • Durc did not cry, bossed woman and girls.

  • Ayla's questions about her real family (page 441) What happened to my real mother and her mate? Do I have any siblings?

  • Ayla's reasons for leaving Durc are given on page 442. Durc is part clan, he has a mate, and Ayla does not know for certain that she will find any Others.

  • Vorn actually ask Brun to give him Uba, although Ayla didn't think he had any real choice.


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