Erica Berry at Literary Hub:
“I have come to believe that fear is a cruelty to those who are feared,” writes Eula Biss in Notes from No Man’s Land: American Essays. When I read this, I thought of the wolf, and then I thought of the people we had turned into them, from Cotton Mather calling Native Americans “Ravenous howling Wolves” in 1689, to The New York Daily News’ headline about the Central Park “Wolf Pack” exactly 300 years later. In Songlines, Bruce Chatwin notes that wargus, the Middle Latin word for wolf, is the same as the word for “stranger,” and Harting writes that the Saxons once referred to outlaws as “wolfs-heads”—unprotected by the law and liable to be killed anywhere, like animals. In Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, Gratiano references “a wolf, who hanged for human slaughter,” a line that smacks of metaphor until you read reports from medieval Germany of wolves that were dressed in human clothes, wigs, and masks before being strung up at a town gallows. The line between an evil man and an evil wolf has always been thin.
In other words: how have we tried to reconcile the evil that lies within our human communities and human hearts? We have made it strange. We have made it outlaw. We have made it a lone wolf.