I read the story “The Wife’s Story” by Ursula LeGuin twice before I understood what’s the story is about. At the first look, I thought that a woman tells the readers about her husband turning into the werewolf. But some things were strange in the plot and it moved me to read it again. I was totally amazed when I understood that the wife is a wolf herself that telling us that her wolf husband turns into a human. I got the point that the story in some ways is ambiguous. I was shocked by that fact that I didn’t notice it at the first reading. The writer uses in her story the technique of foreshadowing to give us hints that we misread the story and the described behavior belongs not to a human but to wolves.
In the beginning of the story, the wife describes us the moment when she met her husband in the forest. He was coming from the hunting, and though he didn’t get anything he wasn’t upset. This is what she loved about him, that he never took things hard: “Then one time when I was walking in the woods I met him by himself coming back from a hunting trip. He hadn’t got any game at all, not so much as a field mouse, but he wasn’t cast down about it ” (1). The writer demonstrates here, how the reader might be easily led to astray. As I read this for the first time, of course, I thought about the man that coming back from hunting, and a woman telling us about her love story. But after I read the story twice and already knew what I had to look for, I noticed that it is also absolutely normal behavior for the wolf.
After that she tells us about her husband’s beautiful voice, and that she would listen to his songs during the nights. When he sings the others join him and they sing together: “He had such a beautiful voice, and he’d lead off strong, and the others following and joining in, high voices and low. ” (1). I though it can be a man with a beautiful voice, whose friends are joining him and singing with him, she describes the wolf. Which now when I already know was howling at night in the woods, and other wolves joined him there.
At the end of the story, the wife suspects that something bad happens to her husband, he disappears and then comes back home late very tired and with a strange smell. And then she finds out that her wolf-husband turns into a human. The wolf wife starts to defend her children, and at the end, she kills her husband who turned into a man because he’s different than any of them. The man considers as a danger to them. The described situation is exactly the same as if it were the woman describing her husband turning into a werewolf.
Basically, by composing the story with double meaning, the author shows us how the title and wily sentences might have such a power, giving to the reader some certain image of the story and lead to misperception. She personifies the wolves in that she lets the wife talk about family, love, and children. Now, who would think initially that wolves would talk about feelings and live in a house? Le Guin limits to the reader perspective of the wife and reveals information step by step. The end that nobody expected, this what makes this story so great.