ENG 125 Introduction to Literature Instructor: Steven Ryan February 27, 2012 Elements of the Hood Elements of Hood Literature allows us, as readers, to relate to stories in different ways while portraying a universal theme. As far as children’s stories go, the literal text will capture a child’s imaginations while an adult may push past that point and unravel a more critical message. By cunningly adapting hidden motives into the story, it allows the reader to open the door to more possibilities.
When applied to Andrew Lang’s translation of Little Red Riding Hood, we are shown the sexual insinuations, and just how dangerous it is for children to be left alone. In the beginning of Little Red Riding Hood, the little country girl is merrily along her way through the forest. “…She met with a wolf, who had a very great mind to eat her up…” (Clugston, 2010, p. 73). This is where a major problem rises; the little country girl’s mother and grandmother never taught her to make herself aware of strangers. “The poor child, who did not know that it was dangerous to stay and talk to a wolf…” (Clugston, 2010, p. 3). We are already made aware that the girl is young and impressionable by her talking to this stranger. She is unaware of the consequences that could arise from her informing the wolf of her day. The mother and grandmother play a minor role, but help to understand the basis of Red’s characteristics. The perception of a family who lives in a small village and is separated from their grandmother by a forest gives of a sense of safety and security. For a mother to let a young girl who is very beautiful go off alone implies that the villagers are naive to any present dangers around.
The wolf hadn’t eaten for three days, and was smart enough to not eat Red on their initial meeting due to the possibility of being caught. The wolf is in fact cunning to make a little girl his target, and have her tell him where grandmother’s house is. Would it seem a bit off if a stranger told you they where going to the same private residence as you? Would it seem even worse if they told you to take a longer route for no reason? A mere child would not pay it much mind considering their level of knowledge and innocence. The immoralities of the wolf are justified by his haracter and the representation of his desire. Sexual undertones are used multiple times with regards to the wolf’s eating habits. The wolf did not simply just eat the grandmother but “…he immediately fell upon the good woman…” (Clugston, 2010, p. 73). The wolf has every opportunity to eat Little Red any which way he wants to, but chooses to wait in the grandmothers bed and asks her to “…come get into bed with me” (Clugston, 2010, p. 74). The little red riding hood that was made by the mother can symbolize the purity and innocence of the young girl. It suited her so very well, and she wore it wherever she went.
The hood defined her purity in which the wolf desperately wanted to take. This was, after all, his main pursuit. After everything the wolf wanted the young girl to do, “Little Red Riding Hood took off her clothes and got into bed” (Clugston, 2010, p. 74). She then went on to mention the wolf’s big body parts. “This wicked wolf fell upon Little Red Riding Hood, and ate her all up” (Clugston, 2010, p. 74). In the end, the wolf got everything that he had wanted in terms of a meal/sexual desire. The family of Little Red Riding Hood represents the goodness of the world, whereas the wolf represents all the evil and trickery.
It cannot be justified that the ill fate of the grandmother and the young girl rested upon the young girl’s shoulders because she was unaware of anything bad in the first place. The author makes it clear that the mother and grandmother are quite fond of Red, but it is also clear that they did not inform her of the dangers and horrible natures of the world. No matter what context the story is taken in, the theme is clear: Do not talk to strangers, and do not go out alone. References: Clugston, R. W. (2010). Journey into literature. San Diego, California: Bridgepoint Running Header; ELEMENTS OF THE HOOD