Study Guide

Where the Wild Things Are Max's Wolf Suit

By Maurice Sendak

Max's Wolf Suit

When you hear "wolf," do you think sweet, tame, and mild-mannered? Of course you don't. You think wild. You think dangerous. You think Wall Street. Okay, maybe not Wall Street…at least not in this instance. But you see what we're getting at.  href="http:>

A wolf is a wild creature—a wild thing, you might even say. And when Max is wearing his wolf suit, he is at his wildest.

Just as people can be emboldened to take on new personalities when they put on Halloween costumes, Max's wolf suit is clearly his go-to gear for making mischief. Indeed, the story starts with "[t]he night Max wore his wolf suit," so we know right from the get-go that this is a case of clothes making the man…er, the boy.  href="https:>

The whole time Max is misbehaving, his wolf suit stays put. But in the last illustration, when Max has calmed down and is ready to return to his room and take a milder approach, he slides the hood of his wolf suit off his head (43). Voila! He's a boy again. Not a wild thing, not the king of all wild things, not a young boy overwhelmed by a sea of conflicting emotions. At least, until that hood goes back up.