Little Red Riding Hood: Lessons Learned from a Fairy Tale

English: Little Red Riding Hood

English: Little Red Riding Hood (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

To raise a child takes a village, because the world is a dangerous place; let truth prevail and be healed from the ravages of a lawless society. The inhabitants of earth have become desolate,  with many seeking  comfort in the most heinous of ways seeing rape as an outlet from memories of child abuse, murder as an outlet for an angry heart, molestation as a means of escape from an even more troubled past; and no one seeks God as their cure.

Therefore, rape begets rape, murder begets murder, molestation even more molestation; it never ends. In the story of “Little Red Riding Hood,” the view behind  the fairytale is as a warning to young girls to be careful of their virginity. It is originated from the French in 1697 portraying a young girl scarcely clad lying in a precarious position; underneath a wolf. Hence., the original verses of the tale were aimed at those planning on making their beds with the wolf so to speak.( Clugston,  2010, Sec. 4.1). Hence, the theme centers on all that is dangerous in the world and the consequences thereof. Its message can be considered by everyone not just children; grownups can apply the message as well. There are a few things that warrant attention in the story; the village, the woods, the wolf, speaking to the wolf, the long way to grandma’s along with those activities, grandma’s plight,  and the eventual death of Little Red Riding Hood.

Imagery of the village bring into focus a close knit group where the children can run about care free, and where the men and the woman of each house are genuinely friendly towards one another; in other words, they are one big happy family, because they look after one another’s interest. Hence, the premise here is that not one person in the village will allow a stranger to enter their midst. Therefore, it is outside the village where danger lies.

The text says,  “One day her mother, having made some cakes, said to her, “Go, my dear, and see how your grandmother is doing, for I hear she has been very ill. Take her a cake, and this little pot of butter.” ( Clugston, 2010, Para. 2,  Sec. 4.1). Wouldn’t be great if all who are given instruction would follow and walk a straight path?  The village is symbolic and reminder of the protection for those who dwell in it. The text says also, “Little Red Riding Hood set out immediately to go to her grandmother, who lived in another village.” ( Clugston,  2010, line 9,  Sec. 4.1).

The view of the woods is symbolic and can denote what is both good and evil which lurks there; in this case the dangers are of utmost importance. The woods are like the world for Little Red Riding Hoods, because a stranger lurks about waiting for the opportunity to grab her. In this instance we see the wolf as symbolic as well because it is within the dark, thick brush of the world that the stranger hides; sometimes undetected. There is also a need to be aware of surroundings, because while something’s in life have the appearance of safety they can lead to fatal consequences.

Children today have been taught not to talk to strangers, not to take candy or other things that might be tempting, and to do what it is you are to do out there in world and go straight home. It is no wonder then that the girl was in trouble, because first we see she chatted with the wolf; who is a stranger, and second she gave intimate details to him not knowing him at all. The text says, “As she was going through the wood, she met with a wolf that had a very great mind to eat her up, but he dared not, because of some wood­cutters working nearby in the forest. He asked her where she was going. The poor child, who did not know that it was dangerous to stay and talk to a wolf, said to him, “I am going to see my grandmother and carry her a cake, and a little pot of butter from my mother.” (Clugston, 2010, Para. 3,  Sec. 4.1). The conversation shares to much private information; the wolf made her feel comfortable enough to share it. and then the clincher, “Does she live far off?” said the wolf.

“Oh I say,” answered Little Red Riding Hood; “it is beyond that mill you see there, at the first house in the village.” ( Clugston. 2010, line 15,16,  Sec. 4.1). Oh! Watch out what you tell the wolf, because he will use it to kill you.

Safety is always a concern when sending children to places away from the sanctity of home, because parents never know what evils await them. Trusting that they will do the right thing is hard to do sometimes; especially when there are so many temptations to take them away from the task at hand. This is the plight the Little Red Riding Hood has encountered here. The text says, “The wolf ran as fast as he could, taking the shortest path, and the little girl took a roundabout way, entertaining herself by gathering nuts, run­ning after butterflies, and gathering bouquets of little flowers. It was not long before the wolf arrived at the old woman’s house. He knocked at the door: tap, tap.” ( Clugston, 2010, Para.4,  Sec. 4.1).

There are many tempters in the woods of life as is shown with the little girl stopping to admire all the loveliness she sees, and to taste of the fruit that it has to offer; while the wolf uses the information he deceptively obtained and goes to kill her grandmother. It can be noted that some people do things trusting too easily and those who they love are placed in a vulnerable situation; it may not threaten life as seen here but can threaten security.

Do not answer a voice that is unfamiliar. The old wives used to say, “follow your first mind,” surely to follow such a warning would be a wise application of wisdom when dealing with something unfamiliar. The text says, “Little Red Riding Hood, hearing the big voice of the wolf, was at first afraid.”( Clugston, 2010, Para.5,  Sec. 4.1).

Have you ever tried to play with someone’s child, and they not being acquainted with you start to cry? There is something about a strange face, an unfamiliar voice that small infants will not tarry with, and because of this they will scream, urging back until they are safely in their mothers arms once again. It is Divine instinct and this is the premise of this line because Little Red Riding Hood did not follow her first mind. This symbolic for premonition or foreshadowing; which tells of danger ahead, and led to the death of Little Red Riding Hood.

Ultimately the goal of all parents raising children or even young adults venturing out into the world is to be remain watchful at all times, stay on the straight path, do not talk to strangers, follow your mind, be obedient to live a long and healthy life.


Journey Into Literature

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