Angela Carter’s “The Company Of Wolves”: A Study Of Innocence And Transformation

Summary and Introduction

Angela Carter’s story, The Company of Wolves, describes the changes of a girl as she develops into a woman. She encounters many things that cause her to lose the innocence she once had at her home when she enters the forest alone. Ignorant of what the wolf had done to her grandmother, she still feels sympathy for the werewolf. This story shows that women may lose their innocence once they enter the real world and cannot control themselves or their feelings.

The Menacing World of Wolves

At the story’s beginning, the narrator states the threats of wolves and the risks of being in the woods alone. He defines wolves as carnivores who incarnate that one should run away from them, especially if they are seen naked or their eyes shine in the dark. If one gets off the path, they will be taken by a wolf. They are hard to keep out, especially in the wintertime when there is nothing else to eat, and they become skinny (240-241). Sometimes, the wolves aren’t happy with who they are, “That long-drawn, wavering howl has…some inherent sadness in it as if the beasts would love to be less beastly if only they knew how and never cease to mourn their condition” (242).

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In the wintertime, they cannot help but be like this because they lack food. The werewolves are very powerful and sometimes cannot contain themselves. She sees the sadness that the wolf is going through. These characteristics take part in the difficulty for the girl to escape the wolf when he is seducing her.

Once the grandmother is dead and the girl is alone with the wolf, the wolves start howling a wolf song, which means that one may suffer a murder (240). The girl then “… Despite the scarlet shawl she pulled more closely round herself as if it could protect her, although it was red as the blood she must spill” (246). The blood she must spill must be a sacrifice she is giving to the howling werewolves. She then looked out the window and showed sympathy for their sadness. She shed her shawl and realized “…since her fear did her no good, she ceased to be afraid” (247). She allowed the wolf to take over her fear and became ignorant of her surroundings.

A Girl’s Transformation in the Forest

The girl’s innocence is compared to “an unbroken egg” (243). “…she is a sealed vessel; she has inside her a magic space, the entrance which is shut tight with a plug of membrane; she is a closed system; she does not know how to shiver” (243). Her innocence has not been touched, and she is very new to all the changes happening. Once she enters the forest, she loses all of the integrity she once had, “The forest closed upon her like a pair of jaws” (243). She is no longer the “unbroken egg” that was mentioned earlier. Once she saw the man dressed in a green jacket while on her way to her grandmother’s house, she trusted a stranger. They made a bet about which way was more accurate, and their deal was a kiss. She continued, hoping he would beat her to the house (244).

In describing the country’s state, the narrator mentions, “Children do not stay young for long in this savage country” (243). Therefore, the children work and become wise, but the girl, who is the youngest, is a latecomer (243). When she enters the forest and hears sounds, she grabs her knife, showing her awareness of her surroundings. Once she encounters the young hunter, she trusts him, and as they split their separate ways, she leaves without any source of protection. Her encounter with him shows her immaturity and that she is a latecomer and not as wise.

When she enters the house, she is also ignorant of what had happened to her grandmother and the apparent signs that she was dead, such as the bones, the unburned hair in the fire, and the lack of her presence when she arrived. Instead, she listened to the wolf and gave herself up to him. The forest changed her perception of wolves and caused her not to be afraid or paranoid of werewolves.

Color Symbolism: Red and White

The color red is mentioned multiple times in the story. The wolf’s eyes flash red for danger in the darkness. When the girl gives herself to the wolf, the narrator states, “Then went directly to the man with the red eyes…” (247). The power of his red eyes makes her cave in to not being afraid anymore. The wolf could also symbolize sexual things; the way he speaks to the girl when she asks about his arms and teeth goes along with him being this way. He also encourages her to take her clothes off into the fire.

The girl has multiple associations with this color as well as white. The girl is recently becoming a woman as her breasts start forming and her period has arrived. Before the girl goes off to her grandmother’s house, the narrator states, “…a little latecomer, had been indulged by her mother and the grandmother who’d knitted the red shawl that, today, has the ominous if brilliant look of blood on snow” (243). The snow could be depicted as her innocence, and the red shawl, which may represent the new changes to her body, covers her virginity or her skin underneath that she is ready to surrender to him. The red is causing her to give up her innocence. Her new cycle and becoming a woman make her surrender to his red eyes.

After giving up her red shawl and throwing it into the fire to be destroyed, she then “…drew her blouse over her head; her small breasts gleamed as if the snow had invaded the room” (247). The snow also could be depicted as the color white. When she takes her clothes off, she is showing off something that she has never shown off because of her innocence, which could be new and unseen by anybody.

The Loss of Innocence and the Power of Temptation

In the end, The girl is lying in bed with the wolf’s hairy arms wrapped around her. She knew nothing would happen to her because she believed he was joking when she complimented his teeth, and he replied, “All the better to eat you with” (248). She stripped his shirt and threw it in the fire, surrendering her innocence and trusting him even though he killed her grandmother.

Therefore, a woman’s innocence is lost once she goes off into the world alone and can be overpowered by powerful forces such as werewolves. The girl’s innocence was lost when she walked into the forest and met the man. She could not help but want to kiss him and surrender her wanting to get to her grandmother’s house for a kiss quickly. Once she encountered the werewolf, he took over her purity again and seduced her as he lay in bed with her after killing her grandmother. She could not control her feelings due to what her body and mind were going through.


  1. Carter, A. (1979). The Company of Wolves. In The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories (pp. 110-124). Penguin Books.

Hiking With Friends: Trials And Triumphs Of A Cold 20-Mile Adventure

The Initial Hiking Experience

It was pretty cold for hiking. The only reason I went on that hike was to earn my hiking merit badge and also because I love camping, so why not? We would camp the first night and hike 20 miles the next day. After we reached the campground, it was about 5:45 p.m. We had two scoutmasters, Jim and Carol. The weather wasn’t bad, but it was cold; we took our stuff out of the trailer, and Jim was trying to get the fire going. I brought my sleeping bag, hiking backpack, toothbrush, and toothpaste, which I didn’t use. We had hotdogs for dinner, and we had to pack our lunch that night.

We always have PB and J for lunch because it’s easy to make. We also had snacks. After that, we played Captured the Flag. We used glowsticks instead of flags because it was dark. Our team won, but not in a good way because one of my teammates cheated with a flashlight, but I still returned the glow stick to our base. It was so cold that night my nose was freezing and almost froze by morning; I think it was below 30 degrees. We played BS that night; it’s a card game in that you are allowed to lie about what card you put down even when you don’t have it, so I had a lot of fun.

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My other friend Eli won. We were supposed to restart, but we continued until I was the second person who won. Then our scoutmaster Carol said to “turn the light out” from outside the tent; our tent had two sides 3. The person was on one side: Billy, Kalis, and two of his nicknames. 4 people were on the other: Eli, Logan, Ian, and me. It was cold at night, and my nose was freezing.

Challenges During the Hiking Trip

The following day, it was pretty hard; we got up at 6:00 a.m. Whenever we went camping, we had burritos for breakfast because Carol said it was easy to make. We got going around 7:30 a.m.; that is pretty early. And it was cold that morning. I felt like I was in a freezer. We were going to hike for 10 miles and stop. At about three and a half miles, I found a fox jaw, but it was half; I could only see the tooth. We stopped at a bridge, which is the 5-mile stop; my feet felt like they had been sitting in water for too long. We had to hike the same way back, almost 10 miles. We saw a park; all I was thinking about was to sit down and rest.

Carol said that’s where we were going to have our lunch. My friend Logan left his backpack near the water because he said: “It was too heavy.” After Jim reached precisely 10 miles, Jim was lying where we should stop. We went back. Logan gripped his backpack, and we made our PB and J sandwiches. We had 25 minutes to get going. Past halfway, I had a problem with my ankle, so I needed an ankle brace.

The Final Stretch and Lessons Learned

Carol had two kids on the hike, Ian and Bill. Billy was carrying my backpack because my ankle had a problem; almost 1 mile left to reach the van. I wanted to faint so they could take me the rest of the way, but I said in my mind: “Everyone is tired the same way I am, so don’t do that.” Jim was so close to finishing the 20-mile trail when he said,” I can’t walk anymore,” Then Carol said, “We will pick you up; just stay where you are.” Ian was telling a story in a book about people with a disability and people who have powers. I remember Only one person named John; I wasn’t paying attention and thinking about my ankles the whole time. After we reached the van, I was so happy; we got in and went to pick up Jim. We had to look for him because we didn’t know where he was.


  1. Smith, J. (2019). The Ultimate Guide to Hiking. Hiking Publishers.

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