Photo by Jr Korpa

Werewolves in fiction have scared and inspired sets of audiences in different forms of media, conveying a message or a lesson to learn from various walks of life. 

Over the years, we have witnessed different werewolves in fiction. Some of them scared us, while some inspired us. The creature has a mystifying charm that keeps its audience at the edge of their seats. Werewolves have since been seen in horror, romance, comedy, and musicals.

Something About Them Wairs by Everett D. Wair Sr. is a mystery novel that follows three high school best friends who harass the son and daughter of a biochemist. The biochemist and his African-American family, the Wairs, have a secret that’s been kept for generations that is connected to the creature that’s causing fear in the city of Lancaster, California.

Werewolves have always been one of the most iconic creatures in the horror genre. The wolf-man entity has supernatural powers that must be countered in time to avoid further havoc in the community. Nevertheless, the werewolves have their own symbolism in the fiction that features them.

Here is a list of werewolf depictions and symbolism across the fiction universe:

Werewolves Represent the Id

A person has three elements of personality: ego, superego, and id.

The id is someone’s primal instinct. It is a part of the psyche that dictates the primal desires, pleasure, aggression, and sexual impulse. The superego is the conscience. It is the moral and ethical part of the psyche. The ego is one’s consciousness, balancing the first two. It is a mature adaptive behavior.

Lycanthropy in fiction can represent a man’s id. It mostly features the aggressive instinct of a person. Mostly blood-thirsty, the werewolves in fiction have also been representing a man’s desire and feral aggression.

Lycanthropy is Carnal Desire

Many of the fictions depicts the werewolves as men transforming into anthropomorphic canines that are thirsty for blood and chaos. However, one of the classic children’s stories represents lycanthropy as a man’s carnal desire.

Photo by Ló Juan

A lot of werewolves in fictional films and novels almost always victimize female characters. For example, Red Riding Hood features a wolf posing as the protagonist’s grandmother in dreams to predate on her. In this story, the wolf represents a man sexually predating the young. In some depictions of Little Red Riding Hood, the wolf gives the wrong direction to the little girl, so she gets lost in the forest. This scene means that the girl is presumed to be lost in life after the wolf tries to groom her for the atrocious activity.

Werewolf Transformation in Adolescence

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In the early 2000s, werewolves are young men who are handsome and physically fit. This representation in the young adult genre provides a new take on the scary character. The young men, mostly in high school, would transform on a full moon and cause destruction or give protection to the one they love. This modern take on lycanthropy represents adolescence. Young men in high school typically undergo a change in their bodies, making them more aggressive or loving in nature. Werewolves are the perfect creatures to represent puberty.

Lycanthropy is Sexual Identity

In many fictional stories, werewolves are men with secret identities that will only come out on a full moon. In the contemporary era, lycanthropy can now represent someone’s queerness. With this, characters tend to come out of the closet using werewolves as their metaphor. The characters would have a difficult time revealing their inner self to those around them, who would also have a hard time accepting that fact.

Other Representations

Werewolves also have different meanings across the media. Most of the time, werewolves are men turning into manwolves. However, this is not always the case. Some media now use female characters as werewolves that symbolize the aforementioned items.

Nevertheless, lycanthropy can also mean other things, such as sexual awakening, menopausal episodes, mental spiraling, depression, viruses, and other representations in pop culture.

Photo by Aphiwat chuangchoem

Using horror characters, such as the werewolves, helps a writer sharpen the imagination and the prowess to use symbolisms. If given the chance to write your own fiction, how would you use your werewolf?