Applying Lit Theory to Little Red Riding Hood Theory #1 Little Red Riding Hood portrays the archetypal heroquest. The quest follows the three step archetypal pattern of the initiation quest: 1) separation, 2) transformation, and 3) return. But it is a quest whose return is a return to conformity to patriarchal and middle class ideals. Little Red Riding Hood ends the
tale with no voice, diminished in size by the looming force of the hunter, and divested of her red hood. Theory #2 The message of this story is that if one is to achieve safety in life she or he must not take risks and instead accept the guidance of those older and wiser. Failure to stay on the right path determined by
society can lead into danger as shown by the woods and what happens to Red Riding Hoods grandmother and what almost happens to her. Theory #3 Red Riding Hood has the mind and desire to seek independence, but not the means to secure of protect it. She questions the Wolf, but cannot fight him off due
to a patriarchal society which tells her to respect her elders and has led her to get in to the bed with the Wolf, thus putting her in a vulnerable situation. She does not have a gun or the masculine strength associated with it. Theory #4 Little Red Riding Hoods attempt for power of the
upper class is stripped away as her red hood and cloak have been. Those that seek to challenge society will be punished or destroyed by it. She is rendered voiceless at the end of the tale represented voiceless oppressed. Which theory best describes Little Red Riding Hood? Archetypal
Psychoanalytical Feminist Marxist More Sophisticated- Archetypal In the opening we are introduced to the archetypal mother. She represents life, nourishment, nurture, warmth, and protection. The fact that she commands the daughter to
stay on the path suggests that she takes on the role of mentor as her daughter/ pupil begins on a journey that is not simply to deliver goodies, but that she is on a path to maturity and self knowledge. The mother and archetypal wise woman is sending Red Riding Hood to her mother who once guided her on the right path to take in life. More Sophisticated- Marxist This tale is already setting up the beginning of a
lesson. Red Riding Hood is being told how to follow the rules of society. She has a place and she must stay in it. However, she is wearing a red riding hood. The fact that it is red suggests a desire to stand out and not be subjugated by class also it is s riding coat indicating that she has a desire to be a rider as the bourgeoisie or upper class would be able to do. More Sophisticated- Feminist The
Wolfs easy and brutal disposal of the grandmother illustrates the lack of value that a male dominated society places on older women who are no longer attractive or able to bear children. The attempt to feminize, speak softly as he can to Red Riding Hood is an attempt to lure a nave young woman into his dominating male clutches. It mimics the act of seduction. More Sophisticated- Psychoanalytic The
Wolf acts as her Id and represents her desires. After meeting him, she no longer walks purposefully, but lingers and plays. The Wolf by stopping her has enlightened her to the sensory (sensual) pleasures that are just beyond the well-worn path, the flowers. The path is her conscious or knowable mind, while the woods representing her unconscious also symbolize all that she has yet to explore. Which theory best describes Little Red Riding Hood?
Did you change your mind after reading the sophisticated examples? Archetypal Psychoanalytical Feminist Marxist
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