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Red Riding Hood: Hunted or Hunter?

Info: 1097 words (4 pages) Essay
Published: 18th May 2020 in Literature

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Red Riding Hood is a tale used to warn of the dangers in the world especially those of strangers and their desires to harm the innocent. But in deeper investigation I have come across a different story being told that of a young woman coming into herself trying to discover a way to break free of her shackles and become liberated. In France when this story was told some young girls were sent to make a living selling by themselves to survive. Red’s hood symbolizes that of menstruation but also the color of a woman of the night. The ever-growing symbolism paints a different story then that which we have been told. Little Red is coming into her own and wants to know what it is like to be a woman deceiving a wolf into giving her what she really wants. Does her family forcing her to live a life she desperately wants to escape tie down Red?

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The tale of Little Red Riding Hood has been told over many different cultures in a Varity of ways.  The tale depicts a young woman who has come of age and is sent by her mother to her grandmother’s house to drop off a basket of wine and a snack of some sort. The tale varies on what is in the basket to better attract younger audiences.   On her way she come across wolf (male) that once notices her begins to ask her about herself and where she is going. Red stops and indulges the wolf telling him where she is going and the path in which she will go knowing very well the best route to take being a trip she has taken countless times before and knows the fastest route. The wolf races to grandma’s house doing Reds work for her and kills grandma. The wolf cuts her up putting her on the table and her blood in a wine bottle placing it on the shelf or table depending on the tale being told. As Red arrives the wolf is already in the bed waiting for her dressed as grandma. He then tells her to eat from the plate and drink the wine a representation of a new beginning and new life. As she begins to eat a cat calls her a whore for eating her grandma a symbol of what Red’s true intentions are, and after she eats she strips naked, and climbs in bed with the wolf. She is then killed but in French is translated into little death meaning orgasm. Jones states “We cannot interpret a tale on appearance”  (pg. 99) if we do we only look at one side of the story and only see that the wolf is the villain who takes advantage of Red. In doing this me miss the possibility of Red being a young woman trying to discover herself and her curiosity about sexuality being the instigator of the tale. In looking at the tale we first see an interesting question arise what is the importance of the basket? Red brings to her grandma a piece of cake and a bottle of wine. Why is this so important could grandma symbolize the madam of the day and the basket contents be the price to work in her house? This begins to make more since with the tale later describing Red eating the grandma and drinking her blood. Another important question is why did it take so long for Red to get to grandma’s house after tell the wolf where she was going and how did the wolf know exactly where to go in the first place. Red must of made that trek dozens of time knowing the fastest way and she still took the time to get there. Also this seems that the wolf himself has been there many times himself could this of been an arrangement made prior to eliminate granny and earn Red her freedom only costing her something she had been forced to give away anyways? After stripping “The blatant invitation to join the wolf”(pg. 102) leads one to assume she knew good and well that that was not granny and this is a task she had preformed before and willing to preform again.

Antonelli believe Red is not so innocent himself stating “She wants to grow and be open to the pleasures of life” (pg. 109) choosing to get into bed and giving into her desires. Both these authors believe Red is not as innocent as she would lead people to believe. Red points out the appearances of the wolf as if a type of flirting and, gets naked then crawls into bed with the wolf. “Driven by her sexual impulses”(pg. 110) Red longs to be her own woman free to do as she pleases and damn with the consequences “being reborn” and “a new adult member of the community”(pg. 111) Red yearns to escape her old life with the symbolism of the wolf is that of a “ritual to become woman” (pg. 111) gives her a way to achieve this goal.

Hillard take the approach of Dickens point of view of this tale and how it lines ups with these other authors. “Red herself became united with the wolf serving as an unholy union between the two.” (pg. 947) Hillard talks about the paradox of Red in herself having disbursed is consumed herself by her desires. The wolf in the story represents a blood thirty villain going after his own lustful desires but in fact is a tool used to young woman who chases her desires. Red proves to be manipulative to gain what she wants by talking the wolf into doing  her dirty work and getting rid of granny so she can be set free and, become the woman she feels she is meant to become.

This tale once originally thought that to be that of a innocent little girl who is tricked by a big scary monster who kills everyone and everything in his path. Take away the things that Red holds close and finally taking her innocents and life. Actually is a tale to worn of the dangers of the world that can manipulate the purest of souls damaging them in such a way that they become the darkest of souls. Turning Red into the cold hearted monsters tale using the wolf to get what wanted. She used the wolf to break free of the shackles of her oppressors by having them killed so she can be free to be independent woman able to be out on her own without the worries the demons of her past.

Work Cited

  • Antonelli, Emanuele. “Little Red Riding Hood: Victimage in Folktales and Cinema—A Case Study.” Vol. 22, 2015, pp. 107–132., doi:10.14321/contagion.22.1.0107. Accessed 21 Apr. 2019
  • Hillard, Molly Clark. “Dickens’s Little Red Riding Hood and Other Waterside Characters.” Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900, vol. 49, no. 4, 2009, pp. 945–973. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/40467512.
  • Jones, Steven Swann. “On Analyzing Fairy Tales: ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ Revisited.” Vol. 46, no. 2, 1987, pp. 97–106. JSTOR, doi:10.2307/1499927. Accessed 21 Apr. 2019


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