Wolves at the Door
November 30, 2007 7:59 AM   Subscribe

Wolf imagery and depression. References?

Pretty sure I read or heard a discussion by a woman (?) a few months back about wolves (at the door?) as a symbol for depression, but I can't find it anywhere. Am I imagining this, or did I really read / hear it somewhere? (I'm aware of the REM tune "Wolves, Lower", but that's not what I'm looking for) Thanks!
posted by ZenMasterThis to Media & Arts (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Sounds like it may be related to the lone wolf. Depressed people arent very social.
posted by damn dirty ape at 8:04 AM on November 30, 2007

The first to come to mind for me is Steppenwolf
posted by Sara Anne at 8:08 AM on November 30, 2007

Best answer: "Wolf at the door" is used as an expression for any pressing, looming problem, whether psychological or more material in nature. It would be entirely unsurprising to hear someone discuss depression as a "wolf at the door", but I don't believe the phrase has any especial connotation of depression. (And this is someone who has researched, with curiosity and diligence, every wolf-related phrase that could be found in Bartlett's.)
posted by Wolfdog at 8:34 AM on November 30, 2007

Well, this poem (mp3 version) appears to be about death (and the depression thinking about death can bring).

I looked in a couple dictionaries of symbols in art, but didn't see a reference to depression. Mainly wolves are/were used as symbols of greed, rapaciousness and gluttony.
posted by cog_nate at 8:40 AM on November 30, 2007

Best answer: Depression is also represented as a black dog.
posted by cass at 8:49 AM on November 30, 2007

Best answer: the wolf at the door tends to reference hunger or economic need. The Black dog is a very common reference to depression.
posted by Wilder at 9:03 AM on November 30, 2007

Best answer: Seems the phrase "black dog" as a metaphor for depression has a long history, and was made popular by Churchill. Here's a link to a PDF (rendered in HTML) entitled: “Churchill’s Black Dog?: The History of the ‘Black Dog’ as a Metaphor for
Depression.” Perhaps that will help?
posted by thebrokedown at 9:24 AM on November 30, 2007

I always thought of the wolf at the door as representing tangible danger to life, such as hunger or cold or homelessness. Depression is the black dog. (But why a dog? Dogs are the least depressed creatures on earth!)
posted by happyturtle at 9:54 AM on November 30, 2007

My first thought was Freud's Wolf Man case.
posted by obliquicity at 12:23 PM on November 30, 2007

I always associated wolf at the door with hunger, as in "well, it may only pay minimum wage, but it will at least keep the wolf from the door."

Black dog for depression: check. Death has (brilliantly) been categorised as "the under toad" by John Irving. That's a bit of literary genius, that.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:52 PM on November 30, 2007

« Older I need a good portfolio manager.   |   New York City outdoor weddings? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.