“The Company of Wolves” is a commentary by Angela Carter which is a gothic, feminist, moralistic and high minded classic fairytale. It retells the anecdote of “Little Red Riding Hood.” The wolves are used as a metaphor to show and represent the men who would be out to take the virginity of a girl or a woman. The ending of this story is at the point where the girl gives in to the woes and pressures of the wolves though she feels in control of every action and empowered at the same time. The laid out structure of the fairy-tale in the first place shows how a girl is a victim of wolves, secondly shows how the Red Riding Hood could become a prey of the wolves, and lastly it ends up that the girl is in full control and has the authority in their relationship. This surely demonstrates that women should not always accept men’s ways but should be able to dictate how they carry themselves. In the opening two parts of the fairy-tale, the wolves are referred to as beasts because the victims are the women (Angel 2).
The wolf is used to represent sexual predators as the symbol of desire and danger in which a very young girl triumphs by employing her sexual power through giving in to carnal desires. The grandmother to the young girl however perishes because she could not give in to the carnal desires whereas the young girl is able to escape unscathed. This tale highly praises the female liberation and sexuality and tries to show that nothing else can be able to save someone from the wolves other than fighting fire with fire and giving in to the worldly temptation, desire and danger. Neither God, fear nor a good living that is able to deliver the people from the wolf.
The story has two parts in which one of the parts explains much about folk tales of the werewolf and wolf. The other part explains much about the Little Red. The first description bombards the reader of the story by giving terrifying explanations about the wolf and its ways and deeds. What the wolf stands for and what it is instills fear in the people that are described in the story. The wolves are portrayed as “forest assassins grey members of a congregation of nightmare” ( 647). The story goes ahead to describe the wolves as ghosts, witches, ogres, and hobgoblins which usually grill the babies on gridirons. They are fictional monsters who inflict fear in the people of the area but still they should not be inflicting such great fear because they are merely nonexistent creatures. The fear of the villagers in this community is so real that their children carry knives that are half their size that are usually sharpened daily (Geoffrey and Garratt 23).
The danger of the wolves is exaggerated to very big proportions especially to the women and children and they surely have the fear of the wolves almost like paranoia. This is perhaps done to shield both from the wolf because of its real meaning of sexual desire, appetite and danger; something that the women have been sheltered from in different forms but the women are slowly getting out of it. The wolf is a walking appetite and sexuality incarnate that is unable to suppress its desires. They are portrayed as they mourn for their appetites that are irremediable though redemption is very impossible because the desire is incontrollable. In case the wolf wants to transform, he must get naked first and therefore was warned against finding naked people in the pines and were supposed to run away from the naked being as though the Devil himself was after them (Jon 12).
The transformational image of the naked man into the lusting beast is primarily sexual and it shows us that naked men are dangerous and are to be feared as though the sexual desires are quite beastly. A suggestion that the devil is half the wolf that have heart, legs and the genital of the wolf is quite in order especially in this fairy tale. The great seducer, the king of the forbidden fruit and the orchestrator of the temptation of women is likened to the half man and half creature of the wolf who is described as all bad, fearful, sinful the woman being his highest target (Margrit 45).
In the first part of this fairy-tale, the narrator tells us of a story that a woman was bitten by the wolf in her kitchen as she strained the maraconi. Before and after this anecdote, the story tells us of hearthsides and huts that allude to times of long ago. This straining of macaroni gives us the present day example in which it is the very rare people who truly fear the wolves. In the present life the rampant fears are the fears of murder, rape and robbery especially the robbery with violence. The woman however fall victim of the wolf. In the act of preparing food this woman is caught by her sexual desire and the freedom from her roles, passion and danger as a woman. These kinds of women are the ones that fall victim of the wolf especially the ones in servitude of any form. The other attack is of an old man who sang hymns to the Lord all the day long. He is eaten by a werewolf and was not saved by his strong faith. The man had devoted his whole life to devotion which is a type of servitude to the Almighty God but the wolf does not take this into consideration. This tells us that them that are in the servile roles can be prime victims for the liberator and do not know how to free themselves (Sara and Ruth 46).
A young woman is also dumped on her wedding night and fails to come back for some years only leaving his werewolf howl as part of the goodbye. She gets another husband within no time and then becomes a baby machine. One day as she made soup for the father of their children, the run-away husband returned and turned to be a wolf when he realized that she had remarried ripping off one of the children. The second husband realizing this chopped him to death. When the woman saw this she wept and in return she was beaten by the second husband because he could not bear her lusting after her first husband who was now dead. This is viewed as a punishment by the werewolf for infidelity reasons. This is symbolic of being a slave to the domestic roles of the woman (Wilson 16).
The little Red Riding Hood starts with a little girl skipping very happily in the forest and she comes across a wolf and starts a friendly conversation with the wolf because she was uninformed and young. The little girl thought that it was in order and very correct to have the friendly talk with the scary, big wolf. The poor little girl did not know the dangers of doing so. The wolf refrained from pouncing on the girl because there were woodcutters in the neighborhood and feared being hurt by them. However when the evil desires of the flesh overcame he beat the girl and took her to her grandmother’s house and ate her there (Angel 4).
The feeble, old, and reclusive grandmother is eaten by the wolf despite the fact that she was a staunch Christian who had always taught the grandchild that they kept the wolves away by living well. The physical descriptions of the involved huntsmen and the involved actions by the wolf are very good indicators of the suggestive sexual act and desire that followed thereafter. The poor woman could not do anything to protect herself because he had already undressed. All these aspects did not protect the poor woman from the wolf. The wolves only rely on their desires and aggressions to achieve what he wants. The girl did not use her common sense as the story comes to an end because she could have realized that her grandmother had become the wolf. She was hooded in her naive status and her little red world and her desire to make her grandmother happy all the time. The wolf’s only desire is to take the girl into bed because his own goal is to satisfy his own sexual desires (Angel 5).
The young girl is later joined with this wolf in a savage marriage ceremony and she freely exercises the sexual power that she had in order to protect herself. The moral lesson learnt from this is that we are warned against the wolves that are present in our society today that are out just to gratify their own desires. Little girls could also become bad girls who are not driven by their own sexual desires. This short story by Angela Carter appears to say that sexual matters contrary to stigmas and what we believe in is nothing that should be feared, loathed or run away from. Bad endings and bad happenings occur to them that put themselves in servile situations. It could be either to their children and husbands or to God Himself. The young girl who did not put into consideration all other factors but put into use the power that she had was well able to escape unscathed. She was able to tame the wolf (Angel 8).