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Little Red in the Riding Hood Through the Ages

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The story of Little Red Riding Hood remains a popular tale retold in modern times in many different media formats. First, the original tale holds a very interesting message. For instance, the werewolf in “Little Red Riding Hood” by Charles Perrault represents many of the fears and anxieties society has especially concerning young girls, about sexuality. The actions the werewolf takes in this folktale represent the very real fears and possibilities of young women being abducted and taken away by dangerous, wild, or even charming men in a sexual and harming manner. The wolf takes advantage of Little Red, an attractive, beautiful young girl who provides the information he wanted to know about her whereabouts. Upon beating Little Red to her grandmother’s house, he “eats her for dinner.” This message, or rather, moral lesson, is further explained by Perrault at the end of his story when he writes, “especially attractive, well bred young ladies, should never talk to strangers, for if they should do so, they may well provide dinner for a wolf.” It is safe to assume that Perrault did not literally mean “to give the wolf his dinner,” but instead is claiming what can happen to young women who are irresponsible and speak to strangers who make sexual advances towards them. Perrault’s whole reasoning behind this version of “Little Red Riding Hood” is to encourage the awareness of wild and disturbing men that may not look like werewolves on the outside, for they may be cunning and appear genuine, but are wild and unpredictable animals on the inside. Simply put, the wolf in this story represents a sexual predator who does not exactly appear to be a sexual predator to Little Red, but in fact is. It is important to raise the awareness of unknown sexual predators and for young women not to talk to sexual predators because Little Red is the one responsible for her downfall. Her mistake of talking to a complete stranger and telling him where she is going, leads to the wolf getting what he wants by “having her for dinner.” Another example of this fear or sexual anxiety is represented in the story when Little Red takes off her clothes and gets in bed with the wolf where he “eats her for dinner.” Eating Little Red for dinner represents an action of course resulting in something much more sexual. In conclusion, the folktale “Little Red Riding Hood” by Charles Perrault represents societal fears and anxieties regarding sexuality and women falling for men who appear to be “charming, quiet, polite, unassuming, complacent, and sweet” but who are really “the most dangerous ones of all” (Perrault).

The story of Little Red Riding Hood has become a very famous tale that remains popular in today’s culture and society. Not only is the moral of the story in Perrault’s version of the tale still relevant today, but the message is told over and over again in different forms of media. For example, in “Lil’ Red Riding Hood” by Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs, the lyrics tell the story of from the wolfs perspective, claiming Little red is  “everything a big bad wolf could want,” and although what he wants is wrong, claiming that girls shouldn’t “Go walking in these spooky old woods alone” he still hopes to try to “satisfied just to walk close by [her] side, but “Maybe [she]'ll see things my way before we get to grandma's place.” The story of little Red Riding Hood has also been adapted into film versions, including a recent film called, Red Riding Hood. In this film directed by Catherine Hardwicke, Little Red is a teen who indulges in sexual activities with someone who might be the werewolf they all fear, but there is no guarantee she is safe. In this version, Little Red who is played by Amanda Seyfried, is the irresponsible teenage version of the little girl in the traditional tale. Little Red Riding Hood is also a character in the very popular TV Show called Once Upon a Time. Finally, another depiction that adds to Little Red’s recurring popularity in today’s society is the choice to be her for Halloween, as a Halloween costume. In this costume designed for teens and young adult females, a certain sexual appeal is present, adding to its recurring costume choice every year and overall popularity to the original story and character.  [1]


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