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File:Wildthings.jpg

"Let the wild rumpus start!"

Where the Wild Things Are is a children's book by Maurice Sendak. It was well received and became an Instant Classic.

In the book, Max is an angry little boy in a wolf costume who can't control his emotions and is sent to his room. There he is (depending on your interpretation) transported to/imagines a world populated by semi-feral monsters and is crowned their king because of his wild emotions. At first happy, he eventually grows tired of acting like a wild animal and goes back home.

There are two film adaptations, the more recent one directed by Spike Jonze of Being John Malkovich fame with a soundtrack by Karen O.

In the Spike Jonze film, Max is an angry little boy in a wolf costume who is very intelligent and resents that his sister feels too old to spend time with him and that his mother's life is too busy to give him the attention he desires. This causes a conflict that ends with him running away to an island populated by semi-feral monsters who crown him king out of a need for someone to take care of them and their emotional needs. Unlike in the book, the monsters all have their individual characteristics and personalities that are usually in some way a reflection of portions of Max's personality. Although Max tries his best, eventually he realizes he loves the monsters but cannot be the leader or parent they need and returns home to his mother with a better appreciation of what she goes through. Most of the following tropes will deal with the film version (see Adaptation Expansion).


Provides Examples Of:

Specific to the book:

  • No Name Given: All of the monsters. Sendak had names that never appeared in the book for some of them -- Tippy, Aaron, Moishe, Bruno, Emile, Bernard -- but never gave a name to the goat in the books or art (he's just referred to as Goat Boy).
  • Word of God: The names of the monsters.

Specific to the film:

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