A Wolf Is at the Laundromat

A Wolf Is at the Laundromat

by Jack Prelutsky

A wolf is at the Laundromat,
it’s not a wary stare-wolf,
it’s short and fat, it tips its hat,
unlike a scary glare-wolf.

It combs its hair, it clips its toes,
it is a fairly rare wolf,
that’s only there to clean its clothes—
it is a wash-and-wear-wolf.

Summary of A Wolf Is at the Laundromat

  • Popularity of “A Wolf Is at the Laundromat”: This poem was written by Jack Prelutsky, a great American poet. A Wolf Is at the Laundromat is a short children’s poem with a twist. It was first published in 1967 in A Gopher in the Garden and Other Animal Poems. The poem speaks about a strange wolf that shares human characteristics. It also illustrates that this fair creature does not intend to harm humanity. Its popularity, however, lies in that it deals with the phenomenon of appearance versus reality.
  • “A Wolf Is at the Laundromat” As a Representative of Surprise: This poem is an expression of wonder, as it accounts for the strange activities of an animal that shares human traits. The speaker describes a wolf he finds at the He attempts to describe its physical appearance that it is short and fat. Also, it is not scary and terrifying. Just like human visitors, it washes its clothes, combs its hair, and clips its toes. It does not intend to harm anyone at the Laundromat. The poet uses a non-sensical phrase ‘wash and wear wolf’ that is often used in fun games such as ‘Knock-Knock Jokes’
  • Major Themes in “A Wolf Is at the Laundromat”: Surprise and appearance versus reality are the major themes of this poem. Since Prelutsky loves to draw imaginary animals, therefore, he has successfully created a friendly wolf in this poem. By using personification, he has highlighted its humanistic qualities and made the readers believe that they should not judge someone or thing by its looks. Generally, the wolf is considered a horrific and monstrous but, to the speaker, it is neither scary nor terrific.

Analysis of Literary Devices Used in “A Wolf Is at the Laundromat”

Literary devices are modes that represent writers’ ideas, feelings, and emotions. It is through these devices that the writers make their few words appealing to the readers. Jack Prelutsky has also used some literary devices in this poem to make it appealing for his readers. The analysis of some of the literary devices used in this poem has been listed below.

  1. Assonance: Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds in the same line. For example, The sound of /i/ in “It combs its hair, it clips its toes”.
  2. Alliteration: Alliteration is the repetition of consonant sounds in the same line in quick succession. For example, the sound of /w/ sound in “a wash-and-wear-wolf.”
  3. Consonance: Consonance is the repetition of consonant sounds in the same line. For example, the sounds of /s/ and /t/ in “It combs its hair, it clips its toes” and /r/ sound in “a wary stare-wolf” and “scary glare-wolf.”
  4. Anaphora: It refers to the repetition of a word or expression in the first part of some verses. The poet has repeated the words “it is” throughout the poem to emphasize the point. For example, “it is a fairly rare wolf” and “it is a wash-and-wear-wolf.”
  5. Enjambment: It is defined as a thought in verse that does not come to an end at a line break. Instead, it rolls over to the next line. For example,

“that’s only there to clean its clothes—
it is a wash-and-wear-wolf.”

  1. Imagery: Imagery is used to make readers perceive things involving their five senses. For example, “it’s short and fat, it tips its hat”, “it’s not a wary stare-wolf” and “it is a wash-and-wear-wolf.”
  2. Irony: Irony is a figure of speech in which words are used in such a way that their intended meaning is different from the actual meaning of the words. The friendly nature of the wolf presented in this piece is somewhat ironic. For example, “that’s only there to clean its clothes” and “it is a wash-and-wear-wolf.”
  3. Personification: Personification is to give human qualities to non-human things. The poet has used this device throughout the text. The wolf is personified. Other examples include, “It combs its hair, it clips its toes” and “that’s only there to clean its clothes.”
  4. Symbolism: Symbolism is using symbols to signify ideas and qualities, giving them symbolic meanings different from literal meanings. Here, wolf “symbolize a friendly creature.

Analysis of Poetic Devices Used in “A Wolf Is at the Laundromat”

Poetic and literary devices are the same, but a few are used only in poetry. Here is the analysis of some of the poetic devices used in this poem.

  1. End Rhyme: End rhyme is used to make the stanza melodious. For example, “Laundromat/hat”, and “clothes /toes.”
  2. Quatrain: A quatrain is a four-lined stanza borrowed from Persian poetry. Here both stanzas are quatrain.
  3. Rhyme Scheme: The poem follows the ABAB rhyme scheme, and this pattern continues until the end.
  4. Stanza: A stanza is a poetic form of some lines. There are two stanzas in this poem, with each having an equal number of verses in it.

Quotes to be Used

The lines stated below are useful for children as they will help them understand the rights of the animals that they are meant to be loved by humans.

A wolf is at the Laundromat,
it’s not a wary stare-wolf,
it’s short and fat, it tips its hat,
unlike a scary glare-wolf.”