Little Red Riding Hood is a familiar tale to many in today’s world, but the origin of the story has its roots from over 200 years ago . It’s a familiar tale of the dangers of talking to or trusting strangers, and as with many
tales from that era it usually ends with a grim outcome. The stories were meant as a moral lesson to teach children about the dangers of the world, and the dramatic ending was meant to help children remember that lesson.
The setting takes place in the woods, where a young pretty girl is off to visit her elderly sick grandmother. Upon her trip to bring a present from her mother to her grandmother, she encounters a wolf. The cunning wolf plans to eat little red riding hood, but knows that he can’t just do so out in the open without risk of being caught. So he tricks little red riding hood into reveling where she’s going and whom she is visiting. The wolf races ahead and gets to the grandmother’s house first. He manages to get inside the house, eat the grandmother, and then lies in bed to wait for Little Red Riding Hood. The wolf, disguised as her grandmother, lures Little Red Riding Hood into the house and into the bed where he eats her.
Message of the Story: Moral Edit
The base story hasn’t really changed much, and even the variants between Little Red Riding Hood by Charles Perrault (1697) and the Italian/Austrian version Little Red Hat (1867) have small differences in detail. The overall moral is that you can’t trust strangers because you don’t know their intentions. However, there are also some deeper meanings to be looked at in the story. While it’s obvious with the first encounter of the wolf that Little Red Riding Hood should not have talked with him for she didn’t know him or his intentions, the second half of the story also presents some interesting messages. Little Red Riding Hood dismisses her cautions about the Wolf disguised as her grandmother. While she’s suspicious, she takes the wolf’s explanations without question. She ignores the continuing string of suspicious and out of place characteristics of the wolf’s failing disguise. The lesson here is to pay attention to your surroundings, especially when something isn’t right. The third moral of the story is more implied than stated; parents should teach their children the warning signs and dangers of the world.
Metaphors and Symbolism Edit
The wolf has been analyzed and described as being the sexual desire of men . Little Red Riding Hood is falling victim to a predator: a man hiding his true intentions (to have sex with her). The red hood could be seen as symbolic of her sexuality; being a young women coming of age whom menstruates/is fertile/is child
bearing. Therein lies moral of truly of knowing someone before you’re quick to lay down with them or in other words have sexual relations. Through the eyes of the Victorian era and their ideals and ideas of gender and sexuality, this story fits a perfect message describing how women should be chaperoned with a companion because the nature of men cannot be trusted.