"The Werewolf" like "Wolf Alice" and "The Company of Wolves" is a stylisation of the classic Red Riding Hood story. Written by Angela Carter, this narrative once more delves into the depths of death, female identity and pseudo-religious superstition. As one reads the text one cannot help but be inexorably drawn to these themes, therefore it seems only appropriate to focus with near exclusivity upon them.
In life, death is always a factor, the inescapable truth of life is death. And in the "Harsh, brief, poor lives" of these peasants, living in a seemingly desolate "northern country" devoid of even the beauty of nature, where "no flowers grow" the cycle of life is the primal rhythm of nature, but just as nature has abandoned them to the grasp of eternal winter, death has taken and icy hold upon them, where life is hard and death is peace, rest, an escape. A point Carter makes with her oft mentioned "graveyards, those bleak and touching townships of the dead". Even without the contrast of bleak and touching, the imagery invoked here brings to life this barren scene, truly letting the reader glimpse the majestic insanity of these people. All of this of course links in with the idea of bleakness, Carter uses this imagery to give the reader insight into the morbid fascination that corrupts the soul of this land and deadens the heart of its people.
When reading the extract the immediate reaction is one of bleakness and the uninviting landscape. But to truly understand this one has to bring in the idea of cold, not the word. Although the word is repeated numerous times in the text and is once more just another thread of Carters web which binds in the mind the immense misery this land conjures. No here I talk of the idea of cold. A cold that seeps into the bones. Cold hearts, cold minds. A mother who sends her child into the woods in winter in a "shabby coat of sheepskin" armed with a hunting knife. A