"Matriarchs held the memory of the family, years and years in that small but heavily convoluted brain. The bulls were just all flesh and bluster; it was the succession of mothers and daughters who led the herd. The oldest cows knew time's history. They remembered Africa, the breadth of it, and were the sources of imparted knowledge. Once the guns erased them, the ones who remained could know only less, always less" (123-124).
After our class discussion about the importance of mothers, this quote seemed to fall heavily upon the page. I guess it makes me like the kids in Dr. Jerz class who seemed to feel more sympathy for the chained dog than for the dead children. The only thing I can picture is the unwritten scene where Stumpp raises his gun, knowing full well exactly what he is doing to the family of elephants before he kills the mother-his cruelty compares to Corvus' awful neighbor who killed her dog. Elephants are extremely intelligent animals, capable of mourning just like humans. Williams found the perfect metaphor. Africa's desert can easily be compared to Arizona's landscape, the family of elephants is much like every family in the book who is coping with death and/or isolation in one way or the other. When the mother is gone, the young ones are left wondering the desert alone.