Study Guide

Windigo The Supernatural

By Louise Erdrich

The Supernatural

Okay—it's time to address the demonic flesh-consuming elephant in the room. (Man, that'd be really creepy.) In Chippewa lore, it is believed that humans who eat the flesh of other humans are in danger of becoming Windigo. For some, the Windigo tale is a warning against gluttony and excess, a reminder of the need for sharing and moderation in the difficult northern winters. Physical descriptions of the Windigo vary from beast-like to more skeletal and humanoid, and they are almost always regarded as malevolent, with an insatiable hunger for human flesh—eek.

Questions About The Supernatural

  1. The child seems to hear the Windigo calling, while the mother does not. Why might this be?
  2. Are the origins of the Windigo in this particular telling supernatural? What then might its motivations be for kidnapping this particular child?
  3. Is Erdrich's poem a warning, like many earlier tellings of the Windigo story? What might it be warning against?

Chew on This

Science can't help us here. The Windigo really is an entirely supernatural creature.

You can peek out from under the covers now. Erdrich's poem is not written to communicate any specific warning or lesson, but is simply a scary story composed for pure entertainment value.

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