Clan of the Bear Valley of the Horses Mammoth hunters Plains of passage cover

Some thoughts on Jean M Auel's book series about "Earth's Children"

Jean M. Auel who is the creator of the Earth's chidlren series detailing the life that a woman may have lived several thousand years before our own time period is a very interesting author. Through extensive research into early man from the stone age we are introduced into a world we may never have known otherwise. Her main character Ayla whose family have been killed by an earthquake mean that as a small child Ayla is left to die. Luckily a less evolved version of our own species comes and takes care of her. She is taught how to behave within a society where women deal with one part of daily life and men are set towards another part of life. Through time she becomes more accustomed to the culture within which she is living and becomes a medecine woman.

Because of her nature she gets into trouble because she teaches herself to hunt, something deeply taboo for the people of the cave. As an addition to this she drinks from a bowl of substance which has adverse effects on her, changing forever Creb, the man of her hearth. After having a child and surviving a death curse an earthquake occurs and she is bannished from these people.

She goes towards a valley where she lives for several years during which time she learns how to sing like the birds, hunt by herlsef and even make animals tame and do what she would like. In so doing the author of the series of books creates an interesting individual through which we may understand the way in which our own way of life became more complex. Through this author's understanding of early man we are brought to a time before many of the daily luxuries we now have and this is a far simpler way of life where it is lived from day to day rather than from week to week.

She explores the creating of certain new technologies being discovered by accident, such as faster methods of creating fire, methods of shooting two stones from a sling in rapid succesion rather than a single stone and at the same time exploring the system of beliefs which these people may have had without all the knowledge we have. In her exploration on how man may have found out the secrets of pottery etc. she is actually creating a book about how man become who he is today.

With the symbolism of the Earth Mother and travel we learn two things, firstly about the importance of respecting the envionment within which these people lived thousands if not millions of years ago but at the same time we also see the importance that travel and the sharing of ideas can bring to people of the world. I can't help but hink that this series is not simply about early man and how he could have lived but is also exploring who we are today, why we dislike something which we view as different. The examples of this are Echozar and other members who are a mixture of the two people of this time. It is showing racial conflict as it still exists today whilst at the same time possibly exploring the conflict between our vision of someone deformed and whether they are truly deformed or whether it is an error in judgment on our part.

Through reading her books I feel that my view of the world has evolved from one which used to think as far possible as possible into the future and about technology, about how advanced we are when there is the possiblity that the society of people living several thousand years ago may have been just as valid and interesting as the way of life which we have today. I would recommend anyone to read this series of books as I have found that they are a very interesting read.


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