Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Mama, these wolves won't make nice

In the original folk-tale version of "Little Red Riding Hood" the wolf cons Little Red Riding Hood into drinking the blood and eating the flesh of her own grandmother. He then instructs her to remove all her clothing and toss it in the fire, before climbing into bed with him. Before the wolf has the opportunity to devour her, however, she sees trough his disguise and cajoles him into letting her go out, though he does tie a piece of string onto her, to stop her from escaping. In the end she gets away, with no help from any adult, such as the hunter inserted into the later version of the story.
The original version of the story is both more gruesome and terrifying, than the later watered-down version, but the basic moral of the story remains the same. The earlier version describes the dangers threatening a young girl entering womanhood; she wears the red cloak to signify her physical maturity, she drinks the blood and eats the flesh of the old crone, her grandmother, and thus concludes her transition from a maid, to a mother, a fully fledged woman. (Women in classical stories usually embody one of the three cyclical phases of womanhood: a maid, a mother, or a crone.) The later version of the tale merely warns children against talking to strangers, and still retains some of the tale's original creepiness. It's no wonder Disney never opted to adapt this dark little fable onto the big screen. Still, it's fun to imagine what the songs might have been like...I do have some suggestions:
Listening to:
Do be careful when you wear your red cloak, or your miniskirt.

Sources: Wikipedia,
Alan Dundes,
My Highschool Lit Class


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