Little Red Riding Hood

Red Riding Hood Essay – Innocent Or Guilty

October 21, 2021 by Essay Writer

Joselyn Riding is innocent in the killing of Harold B. Wolf. Even though her actions might not have not been ethically correct, they were suitable and fitting for the circumstances. Therefore Miss Riding is fully justified for doing harm to the wolf as he was a threat to her, and her grandmother and the wolf had committed the crimes of: stepping foot on the grandmother’s private property and identity theft. Additionally he incriminated the little Red Riding Hood on the way to her grandmother and therefore she only used self-defense to protect herself. In Little Red Riding Hood retold by Mary Ellen Liebheit, Joselyn Riding is a young and caring girl from Heath Meadows that has very advanced archery skills and that shows lots of love towards her ill and bedridden grandmother.

One reason that supports the thesis that the Little Red Riding Hood is innocent is that Joselyn Riding had felt threatened by the wolf, after the altercation on the way to her grandmother’s house. The Red Riding Hood had a very persistent and dependable Saturday morning. She “often walked through the forest on a Saturday morning” to visit her Granny who “was confined to bed” and who was like every Saturday expecting her visit. Therefore the grandmother “asked her physiotherapist to leave the door unlatched when she left early Saturday”. After a long walk through the “great forest”, little Red Riding Hood arrived at her grandmother’s house in “Alderly Edge”. Promptly after entering her granny’s house, she noticed that something was wrong, after hearing the “unusually gruff voice” and the “series of deathly scary coughs”. Seeing the wolf in her granny’s bed, scared her and created the emotion of worry for her grandmother. She therefore acted quickly, by opening “the closet door beside her” and got out her bow and arrow. The wolf had already “staggered out of the bed” and had moved closer and closer to the window, seeking for an escape. Due to him trying to escape the situation by “leaping toward the window” , Joselyn Riding shot him down, through a reflex, with her arrow. The thought of the wolf killing her grandmother and the wolf standing in the same room as her, scared the Little Red Riding Hood and therefore stressed her, which led to this human and natural response in such a difficult situation. Therefore she cannot be found guilty, because the wolf had created a threat and the wolf was lying in the bed instead of the grandmother who normally does when the Little Red Riding Hood comes and visits.

Another point that proves that the Red Riding Hood is innocent for killing Harold B. Wolf, that the wolf had bothered her along the way to visit her grandmother and that the wolf had intended to seek revenge on her the entire time. On her way to her grandmother’s house, the wolf had interfered by asking “Hey, what do you have in that basket, little girl?”. Since she did not allow him to have a peek at what was inside the basket for her granny, due to the fact that she is an intelligent and polite young lady, the wolf aggressively “extended a paw toward[s] the basket”. The little Red Riding Hood felt threatened and was scared of the wolf, as he had used aggression and therefore “slapped[the wolves hand] back sharply”. The wolf responded with: “I see you’re in a hurry, Red Riding Hood, so I’ll be seeing you later!”. This indicated that the wolf knew where she was going to and shows that the wolf had already been following her before, disturbing her privacy. As the wolf was attracted by the “scent of a human” and the “apple pie”, this shows that the wolf was in search for food. As the wolf did not receive any from little Miss Riding, he decided to go to her grandmother house where he would be “seeing her later”. When she arrived at Granny’s house and couldn’t find her, but found the wolf in her bed, everything made sense to her and she had the feeling that the wolf had eaten her grandmother. She panicked and tried to save her loving grandmothers life and therefore she shot him down when he was on the way out, hoping she could save her granny. The wolf had brought himself into this situation by acting aggressive and blood thirsty on the path walk and finally by creating a scene in the house.

Another valid point that convinces the wolfs guilt is: he committed multiple crimes. Joselyn Riding had found the wolf lying in his grandmother’s bed, after he trespassed into her house. By intruding into the house, the wolf went against the law from section 9 of the Theft Act 1968: breaking and entering. The law states: “entering a residence or other enclosed property through the slightest amount of force without authorization”. The wolve’s actions obviously fit to this definition. Additionally, he also committed of identity theft, by impersonating the grandmother when saying “Come in, dear” and by wearing her “nightgown”. These examples show that the obviously had the intent to apply bodily harm the Red Riding Hood, as he had shown that she was considered to be his lunch. This allowed her to use self-defence, as in her opinion, she was protecting herself from this creature wolf, who created a threat by illegally entering her grandmother’s house. It is indisputable that Joselyn Riding is innocent in the killing of the wolf because she just used self-defense, to protect herself from this wild and aggressive creature, after it had committed several crimes by illegally entering and impersonating her grandmother, incriminated her and disturbed her privacy whilst her walk and created a truly dangerous threat.

There is no debate that killing in general is never the right solution, but in this case it was the only way out for this little girl who was scared for her life and who took the right measures to stop Harold B. Wolf from doing further harm.

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Interpretations of Little Red Riding Hood

October 21, 2021 by Essay Writer

The tale of Little Red Riding Hood has been international adapted, modified, changed and appropriated throughout history according to era and aimed audience. Charles Perrault, the original author of the story wrote during the 17th century, a time of excess, luxury and sexual indiscretions whilst the Grimm brothers, who appropriated the tale in 19th century during post-industrialisation and the rise of the concept of the child. A more modern take on the tale comes from Sarah Norman’s 21st century depiction with the story centralised around the story of a criminal wolf- showing society’s awareness of mental illness and law and order. The context in which these tales were written influences the themes within that story and the values they promote. Perrault warned women against promiscuity through ‘Little Red Riding Hood’, Grimm advised obedient children to ‘stick to the path’ and Norman reveals the illness of an individual and the vulnerability of women to sexual abuse. All of these versions share common roots- a young girl, walking through a forest, who encounters a wolf. The three different outcomes reflect the different moral that the writer intended for the three different demographics, depending on the context at which it was written.

Charles Perrault’s tale of ‘Le Petit Chaperon Rouge’ of 1697 is most commonly known as ‘Little Red Riding Hood,’ the story depicts a young, innocent girl walking through a forest in order to see her Grandma, when she is stopped by a wolf. The tale is a staple in all children’s fairy tale collections nowadays, with a warning- directly aimed at teaching young children- about the dangers of speaking to strangers. However, after reviewing Perrault’s original version the intended moral and true targeted demographic reveals the tale as more of a sexual parable- mostly warning women against promiscuity, and revealing the dangers of ‘wolves’. Perrault himself was a well-known intellectual who epitomised the crossroads between the worlds of arts and politics. As a distinguished administrator, he was charged with promoting the monarchy’s absolute glory and later joined the expanding royal bureaucracy alongside Louis XIV at the Royal Palaces of Versailles. Here lay the true demographic for which The Little Red Riding Hood’s moral was intended upon- the highest aristocracy in France. Versailles was notorious for its luxury, excess and controversy in French history and it was here that the story of Little Red Riding Hood was directed towards. Versailles was notorious for its indulgence of sexual indiscretions. It was a place of raging debates, mostly concerning women and their roles within society. Modern women were blamed for destroying tradition family life and strict social values. They were free, promiscuous and used seduction in order to climb the social hierarchy. Although 17th century France was a time of great female freedom, they had the ability to be educated, it was still an overly patriarchal system, with father’s having the ability to use their daughters as pawns in the game of marriage. In order to be perfect to trade, you had to be a virgin. In the setting of Versailles, this was difficult as men, for fun, would compete in removing women’s virtue in order for them to be unable to marry others, the ‘wolves’. Perrault’s tales present a portrait of the duties and expectations governing the lives and relationship of men and women of Versailles and the corrupt institutionalised system that united them marriage. Perrault’s original story of Little Red was far more sexually suggestive than the one we are familiar with today, “All the better to hug you with,” says the wolf, before he devours Little Red whole. This line, was later removed in the Grimm version as its sexual connotations were deemed ‘unsuitable for children.’ Also, in an early illustration, the wolf, without disguise, is seen under the sheets with a girl, lying on top of her, paws on either side. According to Perrault’s plot, she has just undressed and slipped into bed with the wolf. The story ends with the wolf devouring her, with salvation nor redemption included, as many modern versions have, “The wolf snapped at Little Red Riding Hood and swallowed her in one single gulp!” Perrault’s original intention of the story was to raise questions about women’s subliminal desires, the fatal nature of succumbing to sexual intrigue, consequently warning women against promiscuity. For when a woman lost her virginity, a common colloquial saying of the time was, ‘elle avoit vû le loup- she’d seen the wolf’. Perrault cloaked the young girl in ‘a red velvet cloak and hood that her grandmother made her,’ red, the colour of scandal and blood, foreshadowing her sin and ominous death. Her hood, or chaperon, suggest the meaning of both a matron who accompanies and protects single girls from men. Whilst, now, we associate Little Red, and fairy tales in general, to be aimed at children, they were not the original intended audience. Perrault’s allegories were elaborate and highly sophisticated creations for the most educated members of society. They were intended for the Royal Courts of Versailles, people that would understand the underlying social message written between the plots. Perrault wanted to capture the concerns of the Court and the social and sexual politics of the seventeenth century of the French upper class- his tales were neither for the nursery nor for children. The French fairy tale genre of the time (conte de fées) increased in popularity amongst adults and to “simmer” or ‘mittoner’ stories between each other became all the rage. Madame de Sévingé wrote the first recorded reference to the fairy tales ‘the stories, they amuse the ladies with at Versailles.’ Overall, Perrault’s main intention was to create a message for young women of society to remain chaste, as reiterated in the final moral of the story, “As one can see by this…especially pretty young girls… of wolves…. who follow young ladies right to their bedsides.” His story was not that of a fairy tale, intended to entertain children but rather, a sexual parable reflecting the attitudes, morals and life of Versailles. Were sexual actions was revolutionising French culture and creating an age of increased sexual desires, promiscuity and indulgence- especially amongst the aristocracy at the one most excessive settings every recorded in history- the Palaces of Versailles.

The Grimm Brothers in 1812, created a new version of the original tale of Perrault’s Little Red Riding Hood in order to appeal to the emerging middle class and their children during the era of the Industrial Revolution. Jacob and Wilheim Grimm were originally scholarly analysts who collected the precious traditions of German folk, the “natural poetry” for the blossoming German cultural revival. However, there life was a hardship and their shift to children demographic gained them English popularity, especially in Victorian England. They popularised the Grimm version, now renamed to the ‘Little Red Cap’, as middle class working families as literary material became more accessible. This story was based on the ideal of a child during the 19th century social structure- disciplined, obedient and innocent, especially young girls. This is shown through the characterisation of Little Red as a ‘sweet little girl’ who ‘everybody loved at first sight.’ The tale follows similar to that of Perrault, where Little Red travels through a forest to deliver goods to her sick grandmother. But instead of being eaten by the wolf, she is saved by passing by lumberjack who saves both her and her grandmother from the wolf. “he pulled out his musket,” the image of the strong male holding a weapon reflects the patriarchal society, one where women were weak and vulnerable and reliant on the protection from men which is shown through Little Red’s , “Oh, I was so terrified!” The presence of a more prominent mother in the Grimm’s version (who orders the heroine not to stray from the path) and character of the ideal male saviour represents the nuclear family and reiterates the need for obedient children within the new ideal. The sense of a nuclear family strengthened as a concept of childhood emerged. After the industrial revolution, the age of maturity shifted, allowing children to work later, marry later and enjoy more ‘child-like’ hobbies. Unlike the days of Perrault, books became relatively inexpensive and literacy rates rose dramatically, allowing for a wider audience to enjoy the tales. Because children were the main focus of the Grimm version, references to sex were excluded, making way for a more violence- which the Grimm brothers kept in order to exaggerate Good and Evil, “[The huntsman] took out a pair of scissors and began cutting open the belly of the sleeping wolf.” This was in order to clarify the lesson to children and promote the overall moral of the story, to obey ones parents and “walk careful… do not stray from the path.” This changed the message from a sexual plea to a family fable and as it spread through Europe, emphasised the Christian message of piety. The Grimm version also changed the image of the red hood to a red cap, a reflection of the common dressage for rural women. The cap became somewhat of an icon during the era and represented the English middle class working women. “She once gave her a little red velvet cap, which looked so beautiful on the girl that she did not want to wear anything else.” The Grimm brothers provided another ending to their tale of the ‘Little Red Cap, where the grandmother and Little Red encounter the wolf again. After the wolf follows the girl back to the grandmother’s home, they lure him through the chimney where ‘he slid right down into the trough and drowned. Little Red Riding Hood walked home cheerfully and no one ever did her any harm.” This ending completely contradicts the prevailing Victorian ideas of femininity, for unlike Perrault’s palaces of Versailles, girls in Victorian households were superfluous. Therefore, this ending was omitted from popular translations of the tale and remains virtually unknown even to this day. Overall, the Grimm’s version serves as an allegory of obedience for the emerging concept of the child as it projected values of strict obedience to the parents in the nuclear family. The tale wanted to exaggerate the plight of the victims and the wickedness of villains in order to create a fable showing the spiritual danger of, not the wolves this time, but rather from straying from the path.

A more modern appropriation from Little Red Riding Hood comes from Sarah Norman’s ‘The Wolf in me Holds Court’ which deals with combination of a traditional tale in a 21st century setting- the urban jungle. Following the testimony of a schizophrenic man who has had the double personality of the wolf his whole life. He is charged with murdering and raping a young girl, but blames it on the ‘wolf’ within him. The fact that the main character suffers from a mental illness shows the increased awareness of psychosis during this era. It is shown through the partnership of the wolf and the man from a young age was disapproved of, reflecting the ideas of society and the uncertainty we place around those suffering from a mental illness, “We were pups together, the wolf and I…. But our partnership was discouraged.” The pathology and notion of a predator is explored through testimony of the wolf. “The wolf in me holds court,” societies ideas about the notion of a predator, how they make excuses and blame the mental illness which controls them. Unlike the Perrault and Grimm version, the little girl is not seen to be uneducated or naïve, she exits from ‘a corner of a concrete playground’ showing the education of girls during this post 70s feminist era and the increasing notion of gender equality. However, the girl is alluded to have been raped by the ‘wolf’ as the ‘brown mud beneath them pulsed and turned red with sweet, stolen blood, a plush red carpet.’ The red of the blood here shows danger and death, highlighting the death of not only the girl, but her innocence. This shows the vulnerability of girls and reveals that, despite the increasing equality between the sexes, there is still a huge disparity between sexual abuse towards women and men. In this case shown as the women being the victims and men being the criminals. Another value of this era shown within Norman’s version is the theme of law and order. The ‘waiting tape recorder’s brittle hum’ shows the need for justice within our moral code and the punishing consequences of wrongdoings under these ideas. Although this version is a more modern take on the fairy tale, there are several allusions to the original script. The ‘crimson bridal veil’ of the little girl is seen as her ‘little red cap’ and the ‘menacing, grey forest’ of the city is similar to the forest within Perrault’s and Grimm’s tail. The inclusion of the beasts ‘impeccable row of china pegs’, is similar to the ‘big teeth’ that were mentioned in Perrault’s, show the danger of these wolves, foreshadowing the actions to come. The audience for this story is not younger but an older more educated reader. This is because of the way it was written and the themes that are developed throughout the story. It is not one of moral warning- rather a social statement on our attitude towards those with mental illnesses and the ever present vulnerability of women in a decreasing patriarchal society.

Overall, the three tales reflect the time periods they were written in. Even though that both Grimm’s and Norman’s appropriations stem from the original Perrault’s tale, they promote very different end morals and show the progression of society’s values through the years. Although women are portrayed through all three tales as being in need of protection- the things they seek protection from has changed. In Perrault’s 17th century France, women protected their social status through their affairs with important men, in Grimm’s 19th Century Victorian era, young daughters were protected through their male saviour and blind obedience and in Sarah Norman’s 21st appropriation, girls were protected by education and the justice system. The audience has changed overtime too, Perrault’s original tale, whilst most commonly associated with children, was actually intended for the high aristocracy of the Versailles- where the excessive palace reflected the laissez- faire attitude of its inhabitants. As a setting, it influenced his original story to become more of a sexual parable, one which highlighted women’s subliminal desires and the danger that succumbing to theses indiscretions could lead to. The revival of Little Red Riding Hood as a children’s classic came from the Brothers Grimm’s translation towards the newly formed concept of the child. The post-industrialisation period lead to an increasingly idea of a nuclear family from the expansion of the middle class. As books became more readily available, so too did the ability to influence the behaviours of children through stories’ morals. Different from this, Sarah Norman rights from the post-feminist movement from an inner city suburb, reflecting general societal views and the ever changing notion gender equality. Finally, through analysing the themes, context and setting of all three stories we see the linking theme- the concept of femineity and apparent vulnerability that simply derives from being a women. For in all three stories, the young, innocent girl is hunted by a ‘wolf,’ which in the dictionary is now defined as, ‘a man given to seducing women’ and a common expression being ‘she was wolf-whistled.’

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Main Message in the Little Red Riding Hood

October 21, 2021 by Essay Writer


A tale told time and time again, we have all heard the story of a young girl in a crimson hat’s journey through the woods to see her grandmother, and the wolf that greets her along the way. While this much may be true for all who have heard the story, the details beyond this range from gruesome to whimsical depending on where the story comes from, or where the story is being told. As different socio-economic, racial, and religious backgrounds bring a myriad of cultures into fruition, realigned fairy tales created to best fit those cultures bloom as well. Because of the constant fluctuation of societal values, the morals each author of Little Red Riding Hood thinks are a necessity and chooses to include in their version of the tale varies – from feminine empowerment, to a stress on the value of female virginity, or to an urging of child obedience.

After the wolf loses his mind over the sex appeal of the young woman on stage, she walks out into the crowd and finds her way to his table. He attempts to schmooze her into coming home with him, but after screaming a rejection in his face, she tells him she’s headed to her grandmother’s. He follows her back and a five-star chase sequence ensues – but it isn’t the cat and mouse you would expect. The wolf isn’t chasing Red, but instead he himself is being chased by Red’s grandmother. Tex Avery’s approach to Little Red Riding Hood, known as “Red Hot Riding Hood”, was a new interpretation that served a purpose few were serving in the 1940s – feminine empowerment. This new understanding of the untapped strength of women created an even more powerful image of the mindless, predatory behavior of the wolf. As one woman gets away from him and never turns back, the other becomes the predator and chases her howling prey around her penthouse. The sense of helplessness that is so strongly inflicted upon many of the versions of this tale is flung to the side to help shine a light on what the author finds more valuable. Red is no longer a doe-eyed little girl wandering through the forest, but instead a strongminded, empowered woman that refuses to be taken advantage of.

Chastity found its way into many of the versions of Little Red Riding Hood. In the years of the court of Louis XIV, virginity was required if two families wanted their son and daughter to be wed. If a girl was no longer a virgin, “a girl’s market value decreased sharply” (Windling p. 5). A young girl’s purity was so highly valued that it was common to lock daughters away in convents until they were wed, including the wife of Charles Perrault, author of one of the most well-known versions of Little Red Riding Hood. Rape was included in the dirtying of a bride’s purity, but rape had a very different definition in the court of Louis XIV. In France at that time, rape meant any man seducing or marrying a young woman without her father’s consent. So while we see rape as the highest form of sexual assault, the men and women in the salons of Versailles saw it as a dent in their proposed family trees.

““I’ll do just as you say,” Little Red Cap promised her mother” (Grimm p. 14). The story of “Little Red Cap”, being geared towards children, found a new moral focus that hadn’t yet been touched. Instead of focusing on the vulnerability of women and the toxicity of men, the Grimm brothers highlighted the importance of children obeying their authority figures. The story starts with Red’s promise of obedience to her mother, and finds its way to “Little Red Cap thought to herself: “Never again will you stray from the path and go into the woods, when your mother has forbidden it”” (Grimm p. 16). This value of submissive children snuck its way into a children’s story, attempting to plant itself in the mind of every child who read the tale. At the end of the tale, there’s an alternate ending that provides the reader with a view of what would have happened if Red had stayed “on her guard and kept right on going” (Grimm p. 16). For their grand finale, Red and the grandmother work together to drown the wolf, and he’s never presented with the opportunity to eat the grandmother or seduce Red. This version implies that if Red had always listened to her mother and grandmother, the wolf wouldn’t have ever presented a problem for anyone involved in the tale.

The story of Little Red Riding Hood is a timeless one, used as a fable to teach children a variety of morals and lessons around the world. It has been morphed into satires, dramas, and comedic interpretations, all with strong messages to share and lengthy takeaways for the reader to stew upon. Whether the focus is on the strength of females, chastity among young women, or the importance of child obedience, the tale has been repeatedly rearranged and rewritten to emphasize what the author values most.

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Analyzing Fairy Tales and Myths: Little Red Riding Hood, Into the Woods, and Libation Bearers

June 8, 2021 by Essay Writer

According to Mircea Eliade, fairy tales and mythological stories are “models for human behavior [that,] by that very fact, give meaning and value to life (Bettelheim 35). This lends to the idea that fairy tales and myths, from the beginning, have been used as examples for people to follow and learn from. Stories from ancient Greek tragedies such as Libation Bearers, to classic fairy tales like Little Red Riding Hood, to even modern takes on fairy tales like Into The Woods, all have a message to tell, a fable to teach. This paper will explore the messages that various fairy tales and myths convey, and will explain how these messages change depending on time and place, as well as how they are parts of an agenda, using characterization, quotes, and the outcome of characters.

Myths and fairy tales “[embody] the cumulative experience of a society as men wished to recall past wisdom for themselves and transmit it to future generations” (Bettelheim 26). Over time, this cumulative experience and past wisdom was perverted, or used to perpetuate ideas or send messages that the storyteller wanted to get across. The first message that is being told is that within Aeschylus’ Libation Bearers. The two children of Agamemnon, Orestes and Electra, carry out revenge for their father’s murder by their mother, in a way that demonstrates the Greek idea of justice, that is, in it’s simplest terms, helping your friends and harming your enemies. In this case, their mother, Clytemnestra, who wronged their family in many ways, deserves justice for her actions, particularly killing Agamemnon. While at it’s core, the main theme of the play and the others in its’ trilogy is justice and the enactment of it, there is a political and social context that needs to be addressed to get a full understanding of the play’s meaning. The play was written in Athens, a democratic city-state. The main antagonist of the play, Clytemnestra, is ruling over Argos tyrannically. This already presents the fact that the Athenian playwright Aeschylus, as well as his predominantly Athenian male audience, see tyrants as an enemy.

It goes beyond that, however. Socially, the Greeks “linked tyrants with women”, due to the fact that tyrants are surrounded by protection and walls, and therefore lose their freedom of travel and movement, as well as the fact that a tyrant, due to his or her power, is likely to over-indulge in pleasures and fashion (Foley xviii). These characteristics are linked to women because, in Athens, leaving the household as a woman was seen as a social faux pa, and women stereotypically enjoyed fashion and over-indulgence, and were considered undisciplined, another characteristic stereotypical of only women and barbarians. By making the main antagonist a female tyrant, “Aeschylus exploits these parallel cultural assumptions about women and tyranny” (Foley xix).

With that background information in mind, it is possible to see certain messages that the play conveys. For example, Electra, supposedly the only surviving child of Agamemnon in Argos at the beginning of the play, begins the play by making offerings to her father’s grave and praying to the gods for vengeance to be wrought upon her mother. Immediately after her offering and prayer, she finds evidence of Orestes presence, and reacts with extreme joy when he reveals himself by saying “[y]ou are the closest and dearest to your father’s House. How I wept for you, the seed of hope, salvation!” (Lib. 235-6). Electra’s extreme excitement when seeing Orestes, paired with her extreme sorrow for the loss of her father and her hatred of her mother, paints her as a dutiful daughter. She is carrying out offerings to her father’s grave, not struggling or leaving her home, and when the time comes, Orestes begins to lead the plan for avenging their father. In doing so, Orestes, in the hero role, pushes Electra to the side and has her follow him while he deals with the situation at hand. Bettelheim states that the “hero is presented to the listener as a figure that he ought to emulate in his own life, as far as possible” (Bettelheim 26). With all of this information, the “model” presented here is that Electra, by carrying out her social obligations of paying tribute to her father and being submissive towards Orestes is being a dutiful, just daughter, while Orestes presents a chauvinist message that the man has to lead, particularly in situations that require strength or present difficulties.

Clytemnestra is also painted as unjust, despite killing Agamemnon due to the unjust things he had also done, such as kill their daughter as a way to end a war, and for having a concubine despite Clytemnestra being a dutiful wife up until the moment where she kills him. The plot as a whole effectively conveys the idea that women should be submissive and not rule, and that men should take action, all under the pretense of justice. This message is in line with social beliefs that were common at the time in Athens, strengthening the patriarchal grasp on Athens. This can lead one to believe that mythological pieces, such as the tales of Odysseus and Agamemnon or any other relevant mythological hero have a message to dissuade one from acting a certain way.

Into The Woods also presents many messages about marriage, growing up, and working together. An important distinction to note about myths as opposed to fairy tales is that the ending “[of] myths is always tragic, while always happy in fairy tales” (Bettelheim 37). Considering the movie consists of various adaptations of fairy tales and stories put together into one movie, the amount of lessons learned by the characters, and by extension, the amount of lessons portrayed to the audience, are substantial. Throughout the movie, various characters are made to enter the woods for different reasons and come out stronger, wiser, or more prepared for the real world in some way. For example, The Baker and his wife realize that they have to work together to fulfill the terms of their contract with the witch, improving their marriage.

This serves as a contrast to the beginning where they had a “divide and conquer” approach to getting the objects the witch needed. However, once the time came that they actually had a baby, they started to fall back into old habits, and the Wife, upon getting separated by the husband again, cheats on him and subsequently dies. This is a fairy tale example of how marriages can end up in a non-fantastical situation. They began to work together and developed a stronger relationship for it, they were enamored with the idea of having a child but once the child came, they remarked that they did not have any room in their home and seemed very unprepared for it, and the difficulties the child provided, coupled with the stress of external forces (in this case, the giant), made her resort to escaping from her husband and child and having an affair with a handsome prince to get away from it all. This act of infidelity leads to her death, implying she was being punished for her actions, as befitting for fairy tales, which, reinforces the idea that “virtue is rewarded everywhere, and vice is always punished”.

The Baker represents the virtuous hero in this story. After the death of his wife, the Baker learns to deal with his problems head on after the appearance of the ghost of his father, who is telling The Baker the immense regret he felt for running away from his troubles, and with the assistance of the other characters, confronted his challenge, instead of abandoning them for a different life where he would have regretted his past decision. This realization echoes the original purpose of these tales as said earlier in the paper, that is, to embody experience and wisdom and pass it on to future generations. The father, who had made mistakes and learned from it, helped The Baker realize from beyond the grave that he cannot do the same, as he will spend the remainder of his life miserable and filled with regret. When he returns, he is filled with purpose, determination, and is ultimately stronger than he was before. As Bettelheim puts it, “[t]he fairy tale is future-oriented and guides the [audience]” (Bettelheim 11). The Baker in this story, and by extension, the hero of other stories, acts as someone to emulate. In experiencing the issues firsthand, The Baker changed as a person, and the audience now has a role model, an example to follow, without having to experience it themselves. In seeing someone else experience this and seeing the outcome, the audience learns, even subconsciously, to emulate or learn from that situation.

The story of the Witch and Rapunzel also teaches a lesson about the attachment between a mother and her daughter. The Witch has kept Rapunzel, now an adult woman, trapped in her tower for her entire life. The Witch keeps her in the tower for the sole purpose of keeping her safe, as she believes the world is dangerous and dark, but that in the tower she can be away from the harsh realities of the outside world. This seems to be a reflection of the original reasoning behind many fairy tales, as the Witch is the exact kind of person who probably told fairy tales that were frightening to keep Rapunzel in her home, not wanting to escape until she realizes there is more to the outside world than the danger that The Witch described.

Into The Woods shows its agenda through the outcomes of its various characters. The Baker’s story, mostly about marriage, family cohesion, and child raising, conveys the message that one has to be willing to work together with his or her family, which, in this case, turns out to be various other fairy tale characters as well as his true family, and that he must face his problems head on and without fear, and the children in the story, after facing the challenges of the woods, become more capable and courageous. Rapunzel strikes out and finds the someone she loves in the woods, despite being put in an incredibly dangerous situation for it. This can be seen as an inversion of the normal depiction of these fairy tales, particularly the classical version of Little Red Riding Hood, where the story is used to frighten children into behaving so they do not get themselves into a dangerous situation, such as getting lost in the woods or getting attacked by the wildlife.

Little Red Riding Hood is an example of a fairy tale that has been reused time and time again for the purpose of discouraging certain kinds of behavior. Charles Perrault’s version, in particular, highlights the one moral very heavy handedly in saying “ Children…should never talk to strangers, for if they should do so, they may well provide dinner for a wolf. I say “wolf,” but there are various kinds of wolves. There are also those who are charming, quiet, polite, unassuming, complacent, and sweet, who pursue young women at home and in the streets. And unfortunately, it is these gentle wolves who are the most dangerous ones of all.” (Lang 53). This particular version shows the most blatant use of fairy tales as a way to encourage a lesson to be learned by children. However, there are various critiques of this version of Little Red Riding Hood. As stated before, virtue is rewarded and vice is punished, and Little Red Riding Hood, in this depiction, was stated to be “entertaining herself by gathering nuts, running after butterflies, and gathering bouquets of little flowers” (Lang 51). Bettelheim believes that this behavior “merited punishment for her arranging things so that the wolf can do away with the mother figure”, helping to prove that the fairy tale’s point is still to punish her for having done something wrong or foolish (Tartar 38). Jack Zipes believes the same, stating that the eponymous character is shown to be “‘pretty, spoiled, gullible, and helpless’ and is seen to collaborate in her own rape” (Tartar 38).

This shows that Little Red Riding Hood is, above all else, meant to be a cautionary tale. As her behavior in most depictions is seen to be airheaded, easily fooled, and disobedient towards her mother, it makes sense that she is taken advantage of by the Wolf, a predator figure meant to represent those who would use such weaknesses to get what they want. The story shows that, if she were to listen to the mother and take the quickest, shortest path to her grandmother’s house, while ignoring strangers and distractions, she would get there safely and no harm would come to her or her family. This reinforces a behavior of caution, fear, and discipline in children when concerning matters of the outside world.

In conclusion, it can be seen that all fairy tales and myths, in one way shape or form, have an agenda to fill. The Sometimes this agenda is to keep the status quo, and inspire people to act in a way dictated by society, such as in the case of Libation Bearers, and other times it is used to help children grow up and succeed, such as in the case of Into The Woods or Libation Bearers.

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The Development of Little Red Riding Hood

June 8, 2021 by Essay Writer

In the popular fairytale Little Red Riding Hood, the road to grandmother’s house is no walk in the park – it is dark, ominous, dangerous. It also offers choices, but Little Red Cap tends to make those that lead to trouble. The innocent heroine’s decisions always involve a seductive stranger, usually a wolf. In the Brothers Grimm version of the fairy tale Little Red Cap’s naivety and poor decision-making get her into a lot of trouble, and though she eventually escapes, she cuts it quite close. In Angela Carter’s modern interpretation of the fairy tale, Little Red Riding Hood is forced to sacrifice her dignity and virginity in order to keep her life; this is the result of yet another credulous decision made on the way to grandmother’s house. While the general storyline of an innocent girl encountering a flesh-eating wolf on her way to grandmother’s remains largely congruent in both of these adaptations of the classic fable, the differences in moral and theme suggest an evolution of women from dependent and na?ve to self-empowered and aware of the influence of sexuality.

In the classic Brothers Grimm account of Little Red Riding Hood the prevailing moral seems to be, as Little Red Cap puts it at the end of the story, “Never again will you stray from the path and go into the woods, when your mother has forbidden it (Brothers Grimm 16.)” Though simple, this conclusion entails that girls were not to think for themselves, as it would surely get them into trouble; this is a lesson that Little Red Cap nearly learns the hard way. This sugarcoated version of the fable is not as bold or risqu? as other interpretations where the young protagonist is ravished by the wolf or is even killed in some cases, as the authors allow both the guiltless heroine and her grandmother to survive and live happily ever after. Instead of an empowering statement about the advancement of women, this account serves to illustrate more than anything the helplessness of females, and their reliance on men to bail them out. It is not until Little Red Cap is caged within the ribs of the satisfied and snoring wolf, (and assumed dead as the result of her own unadvised gullibility,) that she is saved by a brave and attentive neighboring huntsman, who cuts the wolf open and redeems her from the pits of her captor’s stomach. In his analysis on “The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales,” Bruno Bettelheim concludes that the caesarean operation and liberation of Little Red Cap by the huntsman symbolizes rebirth, by stating that the central theme “is that of a rebirth to a higher plane (Bettelheim 179.)” Just as Jonah’s stay in the belly of a whale was God’s way of teaching him a lesson and enlightening him, Red Cap emerges a more careful and knowing being after she is released from the stomach of the wolf. This marks the transformation of Red Cap from na?ve and dangerously curious to circumspect and submissive. The Grimm Brothers’ adaptation shows that women at the time were not to be independent, as it was a certain means to an end. The theme of rebirth suggests that although it may take a harsh lesson, women will ultimately come to the understanding that they are dependent on others, generally men. This rendering of the children’s fable serves as more of a cautionary tale for women than anything else. After all, the huntsmen will not always be around to save the day.

“The Company of Wolves” has an entirely different intention than its predecessors, expressly the Brothers Grimm account. Whereas in the Grimms’ version Little Red Cap is saved by a huntsman, hence sugarcoating the dangerous reality that sexual predators pose, Carter’s tale is brutal, as the heroine is forced to use her female sexuality in order to evade death. The world Carter creates is real. There is no huntsman and no noble gentleman to pull Red Riding Hood out of the mess she is in. It is now up to her to spare herself, use her wit, and ultimately sacrifice her dignity and become one of the “wolves.” In her modern interpretation of the fairy tale, Carter reassesses women’s self-understanding. Nowadays women are aware of the power of eroticism; rather than crying out for assistance, Little Red Riding Hood is her own savior. In fact, Carter’s heroine, who starts off the story as a pure and seemingly untouchable virgin of a child, knows how to use her sexual allure to her advantage better than most. As she watches the wolf’s “jaw begin to slaver” and “the room fill with the clamour of the forest’s Liebestod”, she laughs in the face of death and bravely thinks “I am nobody’s meat (Carter 118.)” Carter’s ending leaves no question that a woman’s awareness of the influence of seductiveness is an empowering understanding, as it enables Little Red Riding Hood to rescue herself. However, it also offers a sad reality. Sometimes women are forced to reduce themselves in order to elevate in society and a partial loss of dignity must be sacrificed. Carter acknowledges this female power and the great deal of responsibility that accompanies it. The main difference between modern Carter’s version of Little Red Riding Hood and the earlier Brothers Grimm version is that nowadays women are not feeble and guarded, rather they have developed an understanding of the weakness that their libido precipitates in most men, particularly in rapists and sexual predators. This realization has allowed some women to elevate themselves and avoid trouble, as is the theme of “The Company of Wolves.” It is impossible for the werewolf, who symbolizes sexual predators, to turn down consensual relations with a girl who “stands and moves within the invisible pentacle of her own virginity…an unbroken egg…a sealed vessel…[who] has inside of her a magic space the entrance to which is shut tight with a plug of membrane.”

This is why the heroine laughs at the prospect of death; she is fully aware that she serves a more useful purpose to the wolf alive and willing to meet his sexual demands than if she is raped and eaten. Unlike her helpless grandmother whose “old bones set up a terrible clattering under the bed (Carter 118,)” because she offered no potential sexual pleasure to the wolf, the red-cowled vestal maiden is spared by the carnivorous beast. In the end Little Red Riding Hood’s fearlessness proves valid as she sleeps “between the paws of the tender wolf,” who like many rapists, makes her life less unpleasant for choosing consent over struggle. The moral of Carter’s interpretation, then, is that woman’s sexuality is one of their most powerful tools, and if used wisely can help to level the societal playing field between men and women, or get them out of dire straits. Yet, women must hold onto this unique influence carefully and use it wisely because it is so closely tied to their self-worth and self-respect.

As times have changed the Little Red Riding Hood saga has evolved. Although in both the Carter and Grimm accounts the young girl does not change in terms of curiosity – as she lets her guard down when she encounters the wolf on her way to grandmothers house – the true change is revealed when she meets the wolf for the second time. Where in the Brothers Grimm account Little Red Cap is feeble and yielding she is now cunning and seductive. This change is borne of a new understanding of the power of sexuality, and the irresistibility that accompanies it. By altering the moral and theme of the classic fairy tale Carter is commenting on the advancement of women and the principle that they can now care for themselves.


“Little Red Cap” by Brothers Grimm pg. 16, from The Classic Fairy Tales, Ed. Maria Tatar. NY: Norton, 1999

“The Company of Wolves” by Angela Carter pg. 118, from The Bloody Chamber, NY: Penguin, 1979

Bettelheim, Bruno. The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales, New York: Vintage, 1977.

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