The Clan of the Cave Bear Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Clan of the Cave Bear

During the evolution of humanity there may have been a brief moment in time when neanderthals and cro-magnons (modern man) coexisted. This is the subject of this novel that takes place in prehistoric Europe. The novel opens with a terrible earthquake, in which a five year old cro-magnon girl is orphaned. Alone, young Ayla wanders the countryside sleeping in a cave, until one day she is attacked by a cave lion.
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The injured Ayla is discovered by the "clan of the cave bear", a tribe of neanderthals under the leadership of Creb. The clan takes Ayla in and cares for her, though the desicion to do so is not universal. Ayla's blond hair and blue eyes set her apart from the clan, and she is a member of "the others", what the clan calls the cro-magnons. There have been struggles between the two groups. Despite the objections, Creb and his sister Iza take Ayla in and raise her. Ayla grows up a member of the clan, though some refuse to accept her. As she gets older, her natural superior intelligence emerges and sets her apart even more. Ayla has a greater grasp of language and mathematical concepts than the clan members do, and some people resent her for it. After Ayla is brutally raped by a clan member she gives birth to a son, and it must be decided once and for all whether or not Ayla should be allowed to stay with the clan.
The review of this Book prepared by fran laniado

Ayla is suffering discrimination because she does not look like the people in her adopted clan. The medicine woman, Iza who found her dies after a long winter, and Ayla is left to defend herself against Borud, the clan's new leader. He rapes her to belittle her, except it is not called rape, it is called letting men relieve themselves of her. The clan's opinions of sex are very strange, because they believe instead of semen impregnating women, it is when a soul's spirit enters another through the mouth. Women are expected to obey or be punished by being beaten.
The review of this Book prepared by Meaghan Cook

This novel takes place in a prehistoric setting, approximately 35,000 years ago. During this time, there were two prominant species of what will become humans. They are the Others, which are very similar to the modern human, and the Clan, which resemble Neanderthals.

A tragic earthquake rumbles the land, leaving a child of the "others" homeless. She, being only a little girl of 4-5, has no one to take care of her and wanders around for several weeks just trying to survive. She eventually collapses besides a pond from hunger and exhaustion, and thought it looks bleak for her, she runs into a bit of luck.

At the same time, a group of the "Clan" people were also moving; the cave that had served as their home had been destroyed due to the Earthquake. They spot this child named Ayla, and decided to leave her there, mainly because she was different and because she was of no use to them. But before they left, the childless medicine women sees Ayla and wants to help her. She is allowed to do so, and eventually Ayla becomes accepted into the clan and is believed to be good luck for many reasons, she is even allowed to train as the next medicine women.

Ayla helps find the new cave, saves several lives, and acts as a respectable clan women, not as one of the others.While everyone else is getting used to Ayla and her different appearence and ways, she is subtly frowned upon by a couple members of the clan; this only adds to the persecution that is building up against her. There is one person among those in the clan who hates her with every fiber of his body, and for no reason in particular. This is Broud, and it is unfortunate for Ayla that he hates her, because he is the future clan leader.

Since at this time men dominated women and could order them around, Ayla had to do pretty much anything that Broud requested. He sought out his revenge by beating her for no reason, and forcing her to cater to his every whim. Ayla though, learns to put up with him, and even resists the clan by learning an art that is forbidedn by women: hunting. She recieves sever punishment for this, and endures a death curse that she eventually pulls out of. In the end when Bround becomes the leader, he banishes her, and she is forced to search for and join her people: the Others.

   Throughout this story, Ayla stays strong, and as a minority survives with pride. Even though in the end she was banished, she received great honor. This was because Bround let himself be so intimidated by a women, a women of minority, so he could only banish her to satisfy his hatred. As Ayla is leaving, Broud's father (past clan leader) tells Ayla that she would have made a better leader than Broud, and the feeling is unanimous in the Clan. Who would ever have that that someone so different could be herself, and gain the highest regards for doing so. So the point of all this is to fight for your rights, and that the most unexpected people can rise above what anyone thought possible.
The review of this Book prepared by Molly O'Connor

In this book, Clan of the Cave Bear, Ayla, a five year old youngster has lost her family in an earthquake. She wanders about until she starts becoming ill, and falls unconscious in a cave. What happens next, is the discovery of Clan people finding her in the lion cave. They say she isn't clan, and want to leave her be, but Iza a member of the clan with a heart, won't hear of it. She picks up the little girl Ayla, and they take her along begrudingly.

Many of the members of the Clan resent her deeply, especially Broud, who absolutely HATES Ayla's guts. All the way through the story this is true. The Clan does adopt Ayla eventually per Iza's request, and she becomes her mother.

Ayla had to learn Clan ways and customs along with every other member in the book. But it is never easy for her with Broud's open hatred. She learns how to hunt, which women are strictly forbidden to do in the Clan, and Iza teaches her medicine skills along the way. Later, when Broud finds out about Ayla's ability to hunt, she is in deep trouble and severely punished.

Iza encourages Ayla, all the way through the book as well, to find the Others like herself. Ayla, due to circumstances on Broud's part is forced to leave the Clan eventually and wanders away trying to find the Others.

The review of this Book prepared by Boppy

Chapter Analysis of The Clan of the Cave Bear

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Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   thoughtful Time/era of story    -   1600-1899 Romance/Romance Problems    -   Yes Life of a profession:    -   caveman (ug!) Kind of sex:    -   rape Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Job/Profession/Status story    -   Yes Taboo sex story?    -   Yes Woman's story?    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Female Age:    -   a kid


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   8 () Europe    -   Yes Forest?    -   Yes

Writing Style

Sex in book?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   impregnation/reproduction    -   actual description of hetero sex    -   Boob talk!    -   rape/molest Amount of dialog    -   significantly more descript than dialog

Books with storylines, themes & endings like The Clan of the Cave Bear

Jean M. Auel Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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