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Analysis of Little Red Riding Hood

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 1451 words Published: 21st Sep 2021

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Even though there are abundant ways of engaging in accepting literature, psychoanalytic interpretation tries to find a meaning even beyond what is seen in the text. By distrusting the actuality of intrinsic and concealed motives, it provides a wide range of conceptual and imaginative possibilities. “Freud’s theories were enormously influential, but subject to considerable criticism both now and during his own life” (Cherry). His psychoanalytical theories are still used today in analyzing literature. When the psychoanalytical theory of personality is being applied in Charles Perraults, “Little Red Riding Hood,” it proposes evidence approaching sexual motivations. It perfectly integrates with Sigmund Freud’s psychic apparatus which contain the three essential sections of the mental processes which are the id, ego and superego.

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Sigmund Freud developed the formulation of the psychoanalytical idea behind his principle theory that all human behavior is motivated by sexuality. Throughout Perrault’s, “Little Red Riding Hood,” there were various amounts of sexual associations throughout the story. Even the moral of the story suggests being cautious against “smooth-tongued and dangerous beasts,” that like to dispossess innocence from young girls. Similarly, the wolf does more than just consume the Little Red Riding Hoods grandmother, but alternatively, “he immediately fell upon the good women and ate her up in a moment” (Perrault). Furthermore, before eating Little Red Riding Hood, he invites her to come in the bed with him. At that point, the young girl “took off her clothes and got into bed. She was greatly amazed to see how her grandmother looked in her nightclothes” (Perrault). After she thoroughly examines and comments on the bodily features of the wolf, he then “threw himself upon Little Red Riding Hood” (Perrault) and ate her too. With Little Red Riding Hood experiencing seduction from the wolf, Little Red Riding Hood by no means showed any motive via escape or fighting back. She is an ignoramus and maybe on the other hand she wanted to be misled. Furthermore, Perrault also makes use of another example: “Put the cakes and the little pot of butter on the bin and climb into bed with me” (Perrault). The young girl does not disagree plus she felt obligated to follow the wolf’s wishes, which shows her sexuality and desire for the wolf. In addition to these details Little Red Riding Hood is switched from being gullible, pretty young girl, which was persuaded towards disobeying her mother’s forewarning and enjoys living in her own little fantasy world. These clear references in the text are proof of evidence that support Freud’s theories on the psychoanalytical approach.

In the beginning of “Little Red Riding Hood,” Little Red Riding Hood adventures off and while she is skipping carrying the goodies where then, “she met with a wolf, who had a very great mind to eat her up” (Perrault) and continues to have a sociable conversation with the wolf. This was Little Red Riding Hoods first mistake. Being immature and oblivious of the way the world works and she thought it was okay to talk to a wolf that was very sly. Since the little girl is immature and extremely vulnerable, since Little Red Riding Hood is showed as being friendly and slightly ignorant she didn’t think anything was wrong with talking to the wolf that confronted her in the woods. The wolf asks Little Red, “Little Red, just where does your grandmother live?” (Grimm) She responded, “A good quarter of a league farther on in the wood; her house stands under the three large oak-trees, the nut-trees are just below; you surely must know it” (Grimm). She wasn’t thinking thoroughly of what could come of her explaining where the wolf could find Little Red Riding Hoods grandmother. Due to Little Red Riding Hoods ignorance of what could possibly happen due to her irresponsible choice of blabbing about your grandmother’s whereabouts with a dangerous and senseless wolf.

When correctly applying the psychoanalytical approach to this story, it is appropriate to prove the interactions of the human mind. The concept of the unconscious mind can inspire human behavior because it is essential to the investigation of Perraults, “Little Red Riding Hood.” Cherry expresses the thought that, “Sigmund Freud believed that there were three psychic zones of mental processes: id, ego and superego” (The Id, Ego and Superego). In “Little Red Riding Hood,” Little Red Riding Hoods elders, grandmother and mother represent the superego in the story. They both raise Little Red Riding Hood by helping to protect and control her motives and desires. On the other hand, the wolf symbolizes the id. Lacking both the logic and rule of action, he only functions only to reach full satisfaction. The wolf is at fault because he gave into his own uncontrolled desires. When the wolf first catches sight of the young girl he, “wanted to eat her up, but he dared not, because of some woodcutters working nearby in the forest” (Perrault). The wolf refrained himself from his own desires because he didn’t want to be killed by the woodcutters that were nearby. Eventually, giving into his voluptuous urges, he arrived at the grandmother’s house first and devoured her. Once the wolf ate the grandmother he couldn’t stop himself in giving into his own temptations.

The wolf was not being smart once he gave into his temptations because at that point he was only thinking with his stomach. Cherry explains that, “The id is driven by the pleasure principle, which strives for immediate gratification of all desires, wants, and needs. If these needs are not satisfied immediately, the result is a state anxiety or tension” (The Id, Ego and Superego). The wolf relied on his aggression and determination to obtain what he wanted as his final result. On the other hand Little Red Riding Hood served as the middle man between self-control and utter confusion. Little Red Riding Hood symbolizes the ego which attempts to be the equilibrium between both the id and superego. At the beginning of the story, Little Red Riding Hood is characterized as being the, “prettiest creature who was ever seen” (Perrault). With her mother so adoring of her, she later enters into the woods where she confronts the id. At this point, she disobeys her mother’s instructions, and evolves to being a “poor child.” The moral of the story, is that these young women maybe well brought up, but they still turn unwise and ignorant when they do speak to strangers. Being considered as the “prettiest creature,” it was Little Red Riding Hoods own fault for leaning too far into the senseless id. Furthermore, Sigmund Freud suggests that this struggle of the psychic apparatus of the three mental processes of the psychoanalytical theory of personality can only conclude to the death of Little Red Riding Hood, which inevitably also turned out to be the fate of her grandmother.

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Little Red Riding Hood becomes extremely happy when she gets to see her sick grandmother and try and cheer her up. Little Red Riding Hood being ignorant and is unaware that her grandmother is actually the sly wolf. If she asks her grandmother all these questions about her bodily features and if she saw something abnormal then she could have realized that there was something truly wrong with the way her grandmother had looked. She currently had no reasoning in this situation. The sly wolf, who’s only goal is to ingest any type of flesh, tricks the young girl. The wolf and the young little girl are both idiots in this situation. The wolf could care less about anything else, except his only motivation which is to get Little Red Riding Hood into bed. “Put the cake and the butter down on the bread-bin and come and lie down with me” (Perrault). The wolf only wanted to just satisfy his irresistible needs. The wolf doesn’t know right from wrong, he just reacts to his animalistic desires. The wolf is a creature who is trying to exert himself for his full gratification of his wants and needs.

The moral of the story cautions that the wolf in the story is going to try and take advantage of any ignorant or vulnerable creatures. People are capable of bestowing into their own temptations, but they need to know what is right from wrong. The psychoanalytic approach is used for examining literature; it results in being entirely intriguing. Sexual motives are clearly seen throughout the story, thus confirming the complexity beyond what is seen in the text. Maybe it is abnormal than just analyzing literature. However, this examination remains both thought of being out of the norm and intriguing.


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