Analysis of Jackalope Wives by Ursula Vernon

The first three paragraphs of Ursula’s short story Jackalope Wives directly introduce the readers to the world of fiction. Jackalope in North America setting is believed to be a mythical animal in the cultural folklore of the people in the region. The story begins by setting in of evening darkness that is lit up by the moon after the daylight. Jackalope Wives, the subject of the story, are given human qualities of being able to play music and dance that portrays the artistic skills of the writer. Even though the Jackalope Wives are personified, they hardly interact freely with human beings. More often they run away when the young men of the village draw close to them in the interest of having them.

The fate of the two main characters, Grandma Harken and her grandson, illustrates the danger of making choices based on what someone feel that it is best for him. This analytical paper therefore seeks to educate the readers on the significance of theme of choice.

Ursula’s short story, Jackalope Wives clearly exhibit choice as the main theme of the story. In many cases, it is the choices that one makes that determine the fate of the individual. Often people make choices that they believe are beneficial to them not knowing that such decisions may end up causing harm to them in as much as they may gain from it. For instance, imagine someone who has to engage in an unscrupulous trade affair such as hard drugs trafficking to acquire wealth so fast. Such a person may end up in jail for the rest of his life that implies a wasted living. On the other hand, the person may end up stinking wealthy if all goes well with him. In the short story, the magical grandson of Grandma Harken made a choice to get one of the Jackalope wives to be his wife (p 2). This never materialized and the boy ended up being expelled from his grandmother’s house (p 3). Even though his faded taste for the local women could be attributed to the touch of magic, the choice to go for something dangerous was just outrageous (p 2).

The author describes the Jackalope as beautiful creatures with long, admirable brown legs and their body-splashed color orange by the firelight. He adds that their faces were like no mortal woman, and they played interesting music that would move anyone. However, the situation is that these creatures would not stand to draw closer to human beings and were only seen at night (p 1). This is enough evidence that the creatures were not any real that could have influenced the grandson’s choice to go for them, but he was so adamant to these open realities. Based on this situation, it is therefore very important to analyze situations before making the right choices. 

Making choices may also imply that one has to stick with the choice he has made. In many cases, people have been doomed for not sticking to their original choice that they on an issue and decided to take another dimension. It is notably significant that one need to weigh ought options available before making a bold step to choosing on one. In the short story, Grandma’s grandson had decided to take along with him the one of the Jackalope Wives that looks beautiful to him. The only mistake that he made was to burn the magical rabbit skin partly that prevented her from changing a situation that changed the nature of the creature and only a sacrifice could help solve the situation (p 5). Instead, he could have chosen to leave the Jackalope alone or burn the whole rabbit skin on it thus he did not weigh out the possible options (p 4).

Making good choices also help in the cohesion of people in a particular setting. For example Grandma Harken new very well that the Jackalope were wild creature that were never understood and therefore decided to cook up a story that the creatures were the source of rain in the desert(p 1). People never believed even a word of his story but instead made a choice to tie up their dogs and organize a local music so that the young men would not be attracted to the wild creatures or even the dogs interfering with them (p 1). This choice made the village be cohesive as people were only allowed to get the local women thus creating a good relation while also avoiding the bad spell that would befall one of the community members who thought to interfere with the wild creatures.

On the other hand, making right choices is may also be significant in solving some problems in some situations. Fire burn can never be cooled down by the fire itself. Thus, is very necessary that when one is solving a problem the n he needs to go for the right choices that will enable him solve the problem.  Grandma after having realized the problem that had presented itself and that there was no room for such a girl in the community, she makes a choice to treat the Jackalope as one of his own and set out for sacrifice to the top of a distant hill. There she summons a patterned man that is required to give the Jackalope wife a new lease of life.

This indicates the right choice that the grandma made in order to cure the Jackalope wife who was by then physically messed up. The statement “it is different when you got a choice” implies that Grandma Harken was once a Jackalope who danced just like the others but her skin was completely burnt to change her into human and so the dancing skills are still with her.

In conclusion, this tale is particularly important because first it teaches the moral tail of always making the right choices when there are a variety of options available to make a decision. The tale also educates people that we should not make choices that only fit our interest but also analyze the aftermath of making such choices. In addition, the tail also teaches that in solving problems, the best choices should be made that enables one to seek a long lasting solution to the problem. Therefore, this short story is an educative tale with the main theme of making the right choices in circumstances that surround human beings in their daily lives.


Vernon, Ursula. “Jackalope Wives”. Apex Magazine. N.p., 2014. Web. 2 Feb. 2016.

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