Study Guide

Where the Wild Things Are The Wild Things

By Maurice Sendak

The Wild Things

These guys are both frightening and cuddly all at once. If you've ever seen a stuffed animal based on one of the wild things in Sendak's book, you know that there's a temptation to pick it up and roar at someone with it and then squeeze it to your chest. Grrrr…they're so adorable!

But Sendak's wild things are more than just a great inspiration for toys and murals. They're also symbolic of the crazy-strong emotions we all feel from time to time and that Max is feeling in this story.  href="http:> href="https:>

And those emotions? Well, they can be both frightening and cuddly at the same time, too.

Sure, anger is powerful, and when we act out with hostility, things can go badly. But anger, and other strong emotions—grief, fear, frustration—can also be our friends. If we look these emotions in the eye, as Max does, and tame them, we can learn a lot from them.

And Max does. By facing up to the wild things (i.e., his out-of-control emotions), Max finds an appropriate outlet for his energy, uses it up, and realizes that even though he has to follow a few rules at home, it's still the place where he is loved best of all.