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Maroo of the Winter Caves Essay

Ann Turnbull wrote the book Maroo of the Winter Caves. Maroo of the Winter Caves is about Maroo and her family struggle to survive in the harsh weather without a lot of food at the end of the Ice Age. Maroo's family was hunter-gatherers and they migrate from the Winter Caves to the plains to the Autumn Camp to survive. They face challenges every year, like when they can't find any animals to hunt for food.

The theme of survival developed in the novel Maroo when Areg dies and Vorka is injured, when the blizzard traps Maroo's family, and when Maroo leaves Otak to reach the Autumn Camp. A catastrophic event is when Areg dies and Vorka get's injured. "And then Maroo looked past Vorka and saw something else: the huddled shape of Areg lying at the foot of the cliff" (56). There are no more hunters because Areg is dead and Vorka is injured because they went out to hunt the ibex, and for the rest of the family to get food they would have to gather nuts and berries. "It was then she realized, with a shock, that they had no hunter, only a boy and a wounded man whose spirit was sick" (67). Because of Areg's death his family buried him and that wasted time to get to the Autumn Camp, and Vorka's spirit is sick due to not eating because Areg had died. Because there no more hunters, Otak would have to hunt since he's the only boy left. "Vorka only turned away and put his free arm over his face" (64). Vorka broke his arm trying to save Areg but he died anyway resulting in Vorka being depressed because he felt responsible for his death, and to make Vorka's arm heal and have less pain Maroo splinted it good. As a result, Areg's death and Vorka's injury limits their amount of food, and this impacts their survival.

A major effect on the family is when Maroo's family get's trapped in the blizzard. "There was nothing to eat; Nimai cried continually, and Maroo felt dizzy with hunger" (81). They can't go out to get food because of the blizzard for two days but they drank melted snow, and the blizzard slowed them down going to the Autumn Camp. "For two days the blizzard roared, and they did not leave the snow house" (81). The blizzard forced them to build a snow house and stay in it, and before they built it they were walking in the fierce blizzard so all their clothes were soaked and in the snow house they dried them by the fire they made. "Tikek gave out the food, a handful of nuts and roots each, and some raw mushrooms" (81). The food that they already have is not a lot so they could starve and they couldn't go outside to get food, but when the blizzard was over Maroo and Otak saved their family's lives by getting a deer attacked by dogs to eat. In summary, Maroo's family getting trapped in the snow house slowed down their journey to the Autumn Camp.

Another distressing event is when Maroo left Otak to reach the Autumn Camp. "She could not stop worrying about her brother and wondering if she had been right to leave him" (127). Maroo left Otak to get help for the rest of her family, but Maroo isn't sure she made the right decision because he could die because of the weather and lack of food. "…prayed to Areg's spirit, 'Keep Otak safe'" (124). Maroo prays to Areg's spirit because she wants' Otak to be safe since she's leaving him, and if Areg hadn't died, Maroo might not have been praying because she wouldn't be comfortable praying to other spirits, also Maroo knows there are dangers out there that could kill Otak. "I must go on without him" (123). Out of the two choices, stay and look for Otak risking the rest of her family's lives, or abandon Otak risking his life to save her family's, she chooses to abandon Otak because one of the reasons was because Old Mother said if anyone got lost, the other must go on to get help. Therefore, Maroo left Otak because she had to save the rest of her family.

In conclusion, Areg dies and Vorka is injured, the blizzard traps Maroo's family, and Maroo abandons Otak to reach the Autumn Camp. When Areg dies and Vorka's arm breaks, there are no more hunters and that limits their food supply. The entire family could starve and die. The blizzard that trapped Maroo's family slowed down their journey to the Autumn Camp and worsened their possibility of surviving, because they couldn't get food in the blizzard and they didn't have food then, but happens to be food at the Autumn Camp. Maroo left Otak to arrive at the Autumn Camp to get help for the rest of her family. Maroo knew Otak may perhaps die, but she also knows her family would die if she stayed and searched for Otak.

The whole reason why Maroo and her family are alive is because of Maroo's persistent actions for her family, because she loves them.