Erica Berry on what wolves teach us about fear

A woman poses next to her book
Erica Berry new book, “Wolfish,” ponders the cultural fascination with wolves, which often serve as symbols of our own fear.
Courtesy photos

Once you start looking, wolves are everywhere.

A wolf plays the the villain in “Little Red Riding Hood” and “The Three Little Pigs.” The boy who cried wolf is ultimately destroyed by his lie. A person who isolates from society is called a “lone wolf.” A dangerous mob is named a “wolfpack.”

And of course, the animals themselves are both feared and admired.

Wolves have intrigued writer Erica Berry since she was a child growing up in Oregon, where the animals enjoyed an uneasy truce with ranchers. But she believes wolves are more than what they seem — that we project our fears onto them and make them symbols of everything that terrifies us.

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Her new book, “Wolfish,” examines that premise, and it’s the perfect launch of Animal Month here on Big Books and Bold Ideas.

Don’t miss this thoughtful conversation between MPR News host Kerri Miller and Berry as they talk about why our culture sees wolves as a threat, and how getting close to the wolf could help us transform our fears.

Guest:

To listen to the full conversation you can use the audio player above.

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