What is a traditional tale?
With covering or cutting her hair, she sends a message she is not available yet or anymore. When she gets a hood from her grandmother, we can say the life forces are passing from older going to younger coming generation. The red color is, of course, the color of life and blood. It can be easily associated with menstrual blood. The red color of the hood is an invention of Charles Perrault and we should know in the 17th century decent woman would never wear a red hood because red was the color of sin.
Only ladies with really bad reputation wore red dresses and Perrault's insinuations were obvious. Before the 17th century, the story was already well known. In some versions, the hood wasn't any particular color, but in some, it was gold. Gold, of course, represents maturity and responsibility and at the end of the day, we can say this is what is Little Red Riding Hood all about.
In many fairy tales the main character the protagonist must go in the forest. It seems trees are an endless source of inspiration in folklore. There are many speculations why the forest is so important but we can also stick to the obvious: most of the people in medieval or pre-medieval times lived near forests. People's existence was closely related to wood from practically forever, but forests also represent unknown, although very serious, danger. In psychoanalysis a forest symbolizes unconsciousness. Leonard Lutwack goes even further and he labels it as untamed feminine sexuality.
The forest is a very fertile place, but it is also wild, uncultivated, and unpredictable. It is not a coincidence so many popular heroes and heroines Red Cap, Snow White, Hansel and Gretel, Goldilocks must get lost in the woods just to come back as more responsible and we can say domesticated persons.
Even if the main character doesn't enter the woods, something important can happen there for instance: the name of Rumpelstiltskin is hidden in the woods and the Goose Girl lost her identity in the forest and in some cases forest represents the enemy itself remember Sleeping Beauty and her rescuers? Brothers Grimm gave her some cakes and a bottle of wine. Charles Perrault opted for a cake and butter. Erich Fromm explained the bottle in Red Riding Hood's basket as a symbol of virginity.
The shape of a bottle is phallic, but as a bottle it is also fragile and breakable. In a dream analysis, a bottle can also represent suppression of feelings. Instead of letting them out they are bottled. The bottle also has to be opened or broken to release the trapped spirit. Knowing red wine stands for passion, the case of decoding the fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood is almost closed If we want to explore the hidden meanings of fairy tales, we should never forget how they were collected, written, rewritten, and published. Collectors were unreliable, always writing and tweaking the material in accordance with their personal beliefs and norms of the society they belong.
Little Red Riding Hood Retellings
The history of Red Cap this translation is more accurate to Perrault's or Grimm's records clearly shows us bottle of wine is present only in one of the hundreds of known versions. We will never know for sure what the Grimms thought when they incorporated it in the basket, but as Siegmund Freud stated: 'Sometimes a cigar is only a cigar. Everybody familiar with Grimms' Fairy Tales is already aware how many absent fathers are in their fairy tales.
Analysts have a theory about that fact too.
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There are two explanations. In both cases the father is really not missing, he is just in disguise. The case of missing father is similar to the stepmother. In child's imagination, the confrontation of the huntsman and the wolf equals to the confrontation of the child with his 'bad father' soon or later every child experience negative emotions towards his father. In this story, huntsmen do the dirty work, so a child doesn't feel the guilt because of the killing of the beast. Good defeats evil and everybody is happy. Something similar is known from the character of an evil stepmother who can serve as a punching bag for the negative emotions of children toward their real mothers.
But folklorists have some second thoughts on the theory of absent fathers too. At least, in Red Riding Hood we can easily find older versions with a present father and without a huntsman. In these versions, father kills the beast but there is one more important difference An extremely important part of The Little Red Riding Hood is ending where huntsman opens wolf's stomach and saves the girl and her granny.
This can be explained as an allegory on resurrection in Christianity. Both women died but are saved by a higher power, represented in the huntsman. When Red Riding Hood and her grandmother came out of the stomach they are symbolically born again. And we know how zealous were Christians Perrault and Grimms. But then again we must not forget the old, pre-Christian myth about Chronos, where this kind of 'rebirth' also happened.
If we ask mythologists the story clearly talks about the never ending game of day and night. Red Cap it was gold in some older versions, remember? Religions, myths, and psychoanalysis can agree on one thing: pregnant woman have had a special position through all history of humankind. She is bringing new life to this world but she is also in danger of dying at delivery. A pregnant woman is still a taboo in many societies. No matter if we understand the act of opening wolf's stomach as resurrection, sunrise, or birth, we can also agree this is a very important moment.
Maybe too important to be assisted by anybody and, in this case, the huntsmen looks like greater authority than a father. If we look at the older versions, where the saving was done by the father, it was not done by opening the stomach but with cutting the wolf's head! This supports mythologists we know some Greek gods were born out of heads and is also in favor of psychoanalysts because the pregnant woman is in some cultures considered as a sacred object and her belly should not be touched by man.
A lot of popular fairy tales use a witch or ogre as an opponent antagonist. Why is a wolf used in this case? Considering the time when Red Cap was first written 17th century the reason was probably an already present fear of werewolves. At least two dangers can be joined in a wolf: magic werewolf as a predator from the woods and greedy male as a predator in society.
It is a story about rape. The aggressive and active male is preying on passive heroine and her granny. He is in the end defeated by another aggressive and active male. Case closed. Well, not so fast. Feminists have some good points but we should not forget we are really talking only about two versions of Red Riding Hood here. Both were written at specific times by specific members of society with their own beliefs about roles of genders and passive heroine and powerless old lady fit well in their view of the world in the 17th or 19th centuries.
But there are other versions of Red Hoods out there, some from before and many from after the 17th or 19th century. There are Red Caps who defeated wolf by their ingenuity, deceitfulness, or even their own shotguns! So much for the passive role. Exploring different versions and possible hidden meanings in Little Red Riding Hood we encounter many possibilities but the essence of the fairy tale still escapes the rational explanation.
The symbolism of Red Riding Hood is one of the richest of all classic fairy tales. This is one of the main reasons for its popularity. It is undeniably a great fairy tale with dozens of undertones but sometimes its symbols are more coincidental than a product of collective mind or something similar. Certainly not. With every fairy tale explored, we always learn something new about our world, our history, and about ourselves. Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.
Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites. Hi, Merie, sorry for my late response, I was busy in 'real' life. I am the author. How can I help you? An excellent analysis Tolovaj, hope it's okay but i've linked to it for my ballad about the story. Yes, it's partially true. There are many ways to interpret them. Caution is definitely one of them. Thanks, Red Gibson, for stopping by. I think that many fairy tales were advice to children disguised as bedtime stories: Beware of things you're not sure about. The comments Time spent on nothing Thanks, Chanse, for your input.
I am always fascinated with all the possibilities for an interpretation of seemingly a simple fairy tale. Great interpretations here.
The Little Red Riding Hood: Summary and Symbols Explained | Owlcation
A lot adds to the present theme I'm about to explain. See, the story is an esoteric analogy of what's known as "the hero's journey" symbolized in many kid's stories. Back in medieval times the "common man" was prohibited from owning books, or writing them. The privelage had to be earned via status with the Royals and the like.
Nothing evil about it, despite the propaganda, which continues to this day, that the Church was spreading. These groups went secret to avoid the cruel, cold, and wicked punishments of the time. These people saw the holes in the accepted teachings and saw them as crystal-clear analogies and metaphors. The latter teaching the Golden Path that can, and needs to, be taken by any individual psychologically willing and strong enough to take on the journey toward spiritual initiation. Aka, insight of the discerning mind, or third eye.
Long story short, Little Red Ridinghood symbolizes the sacred feminine within "Man," both male and female, also known as Wisdom. The wilderness is the same metaphor that's spoke of in Scripture. Yeshuah had to travel through it, proverbially, before his ascension. This and other sayings of Scripture is how, and why, members of Mystery Schools saw Yeshuah as nothing more than a mere mortal man whom either played the archetypal role of the Universal and Cosmic Christos, or was a messenger destined to spread the Esoteric Truth to any who had the open mindedness and discipline to listen.
The wolf represents Sawtawn--meaning "adversary"-- or the ego which enslaves the Mind and Spirit of the common person. Apparently, not only the jar is broken. The lion fountain in the background, the open dress, the roses in the apron and the broken jar are all symbols of a lost virginity. It is not clearly documented why Charles Perrault added the red hood. Instead of hood, Perrault used the word chaperon — a small, stylish cap worn by women of the aristocracy and middle classes in the 16th and 17th centuries.
Perrault introduces her to the reader as the prettiest girl around, spoiled by her mother and adored by her grandmother. Thus, the image of this young girl suggests that she contains certain potential qualities which could convert her into a witch or heretic. Her natural inclinations do in fact lead her into trouble. In the woods, which was [sic!
She trusts her instincts. If it were not for the male woodcutters for only men can serve as protectors , the wolf would have indulged his appetite on the spot, in his natural abode. In the 17th century, the colour red was generally associated with sin, sensuality and the devil. The young village girl with the red hood was indeed something special, and the woman-hater Perrault literally appears to have been afraid of her. Perrault grew up in a society that nearly had been torn apart in bitter conflicts between Catholics and Protestants as well as an amazing and frightening werewolf and witch craze.
The werewolf originated thousands of years ago in pagan rituals where the wolf was actually celebrated as a protector and shamans wrapped themselves wolf skins, and were said to have been possessed by the animal and thereby acquiring magic powers. To them, they were destructive, bloodthirsty and supernatural, but neither wolf nor werewolf were directly associated with the devil or persecuted by the Church before the late Middle Ages.
Women were considered to be either holy virgins or witless children, needing comfort and guidance. They were sweet, passive and patient. They did not stray in the forest to encounter mysterious beasts, but kept waiting at home. Red Riding Hood, however, was a little pagan. With her red chaperon and her natural way of talking to a wolf — or may be even to one of the last surviving pagan wolf-men, as the expression bzou in The Story of Grandmother indicates — in the woods, she represented forces that neither the Catholic nor the Protestant Church could accept. Obviously, she was not willing to integrate in modern male-dominated society, and she was punished in the same brutal way as witches and werewolves had been in the preceding centuries.
Perrault stigmatised the young girl with the colour red — the usual way of marking social nonconformists and outcasts throughout the Middle Ages and Reformation. Perrault paid reference to a long, sinister European tradition: In medieval Central Europe, Jews were obliged to wear a special red hat. Its brim was shaped to resemble a pair of horns, clearly linking Jewry to Satanism.
They wore a red mantle and hood, and their favourite meeting-places were cross-roads. H P Cand. Henrik Petersen Author. Add to cart. The main advantage of projective techniques is that they facilitate the projection of unconscious feelings and attitudes onto the stimulus material. Its conception rests on the association between fairy tales and unconscious processes e.
Bettelheim, , Kaes et al. Its broader purpose is to help the therapist assess the child's personality dynamics, offering information not just about isolated personality parameters, but also about their interrelations. The test material consists of seven sets of cards, three pictures for each set. Each set of cards depicts three versions of popular fairy tale characters such as Little Red Riding Hood, the wolf, the dwarf, the witch and the giant. The pictures are presented in sets of three at a time and the child is asked to respond to a number of questions, such as "What does each Children's responses may be interpreted in a quantitative manner most of them on a 1 to 3-point scale, whereby 1 is low and 3 is high through the rating of 26 personality variables such as Ambivalence, different types of motivational Aggression, Fear of Aggression, Anxiety, Depression, Self - Esteem and others.
Qualitative analysis consists is mainly carried out through the study of the nature of anxiety and the assessment of several defense mechanisms. Children's responses to questions reflect several latent themes or conflicts for each of the seven sets of cards: Set I: Little Red Riding Hood LRRH Conflict between autonomy LRRH straying from the path, desire to meet the wolf, play and compliance to authority obeying her mother Self- image will she make it on time, she can beat the wolf, does not like her appearance.
Fear of possible dangers strange creatures, woods, wolf, traps. Ways of coping with danger she will deceive the wolf, she will strike him, she will return home. Sexual feelings feels shy when she meets the wolf, thinks of her boyfriend, her skirt is short. W will take care of them or the dwarfs will take care of S. W may be a thief, witch will kill them too Coping with danger they will kill the witch, ways of deceiving her, hide Self - image doubting their ability to help S.
W is the sibling Oedipal feelings witch wants to exterminate S. Asian variations China, Japan, and Korea of Little Red Riding Hood differ from European versions on a number of features: the aggressor may be a tiger, the heroines may be two or three girls. Another difference lies to the type of deception: the animal pretends to be the mother, or the grandmother or the aunt of the young girls and usually visits the girls at their own home.
However, both recorders have been criticized for making alterations in what was considered to be the original oral text Dundes, The original text of this classic tale is reported to have been traced in France towards the end of the 19th century by Paul Delarue Zipes, According to Dundes Perrault was aware of the existence of relevant folktales, which served as his source of inspiration for his own writings.
Perrault's version omits gruesome elements such as the wolf's proposal to the heroine to taste the flesh and blood of her dead grandmother, or the girl's taking off her clothes or even the ploy of going outside to defecate. Perrault also changed the ending by having the protagonist devoured by the wolf. The Grimm brothers, who added the presence of the hunter and the saving of the two females later, restored the story's happy ending. Among the most popular psychoanalytic interpretations regarding this tale are the ones proposed by Fromm , Roheim , and Bettelheim Fromm's interpretation stressed on the significance of the red hood that is said to symbolize menstruation and serves as a signal of her forthcoming femininity.
He also interprets this tale as a battle between the two sexes whereby the female attempts to humiliate the male, by placing stones in his stomach stones considered to be a symbol of sterility "It is a story of triumph by man- hating women, ending with their victory" p. Instead, he emphasizes on the significance of the aggressive actions, which he claims to symbolize infantile oral aggression.
He refers to the mechanisms of regression and projection whereby the infant's wish to devour his mother is projected on the mother-grandmother-wolf. The cannibal child created a cannibal mother" p. Along similar lines, Fairbairn makes an interesting connotation between the story of Little Red Riding Hood and the precocious oral stage of development. He argues that the story expresses anxiety over the destruction of the object mother as the heroine's need for incorporation takes the form of a devouring wolf. Alice Miller challenges the notion of projection regarding violence and aggression in fairy tales.
Instead, she argues that some fairy tales are adults' censored projections of abuse that they actually experienced as children. Bettelheim claims that this fairy tale expresses the ambivalence between the pleasure and the reality principle. It also deals with the Oedipal conflict reactivated in puberty.
Little Red Cap's budding sexuality is directed towards her father -wolf who is an externalization of the dangers of overwhelming Oedipal longings. The father is also portrayed as the hunter in his protective and rescuing role. Thus we may observe the splitting of the father figure into a ferocious and threatening animal and into a benign and helpful hunter. As a wolf, she gets to know an aspect of herself that is loose, that doesn't care about duties or about what others think about her" p.
According to the present author, the story of Little Red Riding Hood reflects the child's separation anxiety and fear of annihilation.
As the young girl enters the wood she feels anxious about having left the security of her home, the dangers that may lie ahead, getting dark, being alone being left alone in the house, in some Asian versions. The most common responses in LRRH reflect anxiety over the impending dangers or risks that lie ahead. Another example comes from the question "Describe each scene from the story of Little Red Riding Hood": In response to Card I, a 10 year-old girl gave the following response: "LRRH asks her mother if she can go into the wood for a walk.
Her mother says "No" because she was afraid that wild animals will eat her, or that some villain will catch her". We may observe in this response the heroine's separation anxiety projected onto the mother.
The Moral of the Story
Thus the figure of the wolf or the tiger is the symbolic expression of archaic fears darkness, strangers, solitude and separation anxiety. The wolf as an externalization of separation anxiety and archaic fears may also be observed in other popular tales such as "the Wolf and the Seven Kids" and "The Three Little Pigs" whereby the protagonists are temporarily abandoned by their mothers. Little Red Riding Hood is unable to cope with these fears because of her immature and weak ego, so she redirects them toward her grand mother, "expecting" that she will protect her by dealing with them.
In this fairy tale we have the splitting of the mother into a young mother and into an old and disabled grand mother. In both cases the mother urges her daughter to cope with her fears and deal with dangers. At the beginning of the story, she sends her daughter to visit her grandmother who lives across the wood.
She trusts the girl to make it there safely while being aware of the dangers that this walk entails. At the end of the story, as an old, sick woman, she is unable to protect the little girl and she succumbs to the wolf's cunningness, leaving LRRH alone to cope with her fears and anxieties "face to face". When Little Red Riding Hood enters grandmother's cottage and sees the wolf in disguise, she does not recognize him. This refusal or denial may be attributed to her facing the devastating consequences of archaic fears, namely, annihilation or death.
Looking at the happy ending of the French oral text as well as the happy ending of the Chinese and Japanese versions we observe that it is the heroine s who saves herself. When the wolf reveals his intentions, the heroine's ego takes over and she reacts with reason and maturity, thus managing to outwit the wolf. The ending in the Grimm's version demonstrates LRRH's inability to deal with her fears and thus she is eventually "devoured" by them. Still dependent, she expects to be saved by a strong paternal figure. The story of Snow White and the Dwarfs Tatar writes that although the story of Snow White and the Dwarfs may vary tremendously from one culture to another the central theme remains stable.
Although there is no indisputable oral text of Snow White, the central story appears to reflect an antagonistic relationship -to the point of extinction- between family members, often in combination with vanity. Taking as examples the Greek "Myrsina" Megas, and the Russian "The Magic Mirror" Afanasiev, versions of the story and comparing them with the Grimm's adaptation, the central theme is hardly distinguishable as the cultural elaborations abound.
For example, the antagonistic mother- child relationship in the Grimm version is substituted by an antagonistic relationship between the heroine and her sisters Myrsina. Another example concerns the dwarfs who are substituted by the twelve months in the Greek version and the two knights in the Russian version. Therefore, it appears that the queen stepmother, the magic mirror, the hunter, the seven dwarfs, the various gifts offered to the heroine, are not part of the central theme, but instead, are specific to the culture that the story stemmed from.
According to Bettelheim the story of Snow White deals with the Oedipal conflicts between mother and daughter and warns of the disastrous effects of narcissism. The queen is said to be fixated to a primitive narcissism and arrested at the oral incorporative stage. She is envious of Snow White's beauty and youth and wants to incorporate her as symbolized by her intention to eat her internal organs.
Bettelheim interprets Snow White's temporary death as a preparation period before entering a more maturing stage, that of adolescence. The seven dwarfs according to Bettelheim, symbolize males arrested at a pre - Oedipal existence.
Girard notes that Snow White may be considered as the eighth dwarf as her sexuality is still at a latent phase of development. Schectman in her Jungian analysis of Snow White, claims that the story reflects the bitter battle of a woman against time, against aging and decline that come with middle age.
Related The Development and Humorous Use of Fairy Tales by the Example of Little Red Riding Hood
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