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Little Red Riding Hood

Little Red Riding Hood

Overview

Little Red Riding Hood, also known as Little Red Cap, is a French fairy tale
Fairy tale
A fairy tale is a type of short story that typically features such folkloric characters, such as fairies, goblins, elves, trolls, dwarves, giants or gnomes, and usually magic or enchantments. However, only a small number of the stories refer to fairies...

 about a young girl and a Big Bad Wolf
Big Bad Wolf
The Big Bad Wolf is a term used to describe a fictional wolf who appears in several precautionary folkloric stories, including some of Aesop's Fables and Grimm's Fairy Tales.-Interpretations:...

. The story has been changed considerably in its history and subject to numerous modern adaptations and readings.

This story is number 333 in the Aarne-Thompson classification system
Aarne-Thompson classification system
The Aarne–Thompson classification system is a system for classifying folktales. First developed by Antti Aarne and published in 1910, it was translated and enlarged by Stith Thompson...

 for folktales.

The story revolves around a girl called Little Red Riding Hood, after the red hood
Hood (headgear)
A hood is a kind of headgear that covers most of the head and neck and sometimes the face. They may be worn for protection from the environment, for fashion, as a form of traditional dress or uniform, to prevent the wearer from seeing or to prevent the wearer from being identified.-History and...

ed cape
Cape
Cape can be used to describe any sleeveless outer garment, such as a poncho, but usually it is a long garment that covers only the back half of the wearer, fastening around the neck. They were common in medieval Europe, especially when combined with a hood in the chaperon, and have had periodic...

/cloak
Cloak
A cloak is a type of loose garment that is worn over indoor clothing and serves the same purpose as an overcoat; it protects the wearer from the cold, rain or wind for example, or it may form part of a fashionable outfit or uniform. Cloaks are as old as human history; there has nearly always been...

 (in Perrault
Charles Perrault
Charles Perrault was a French author who laid the foundations for a new literary genre, the fairy tale, with his works derived from pre-existing folk tales. The best known include Le Petit Chaperon rouge , Cendrillon , Le Chat Botté and La Barbe bleue...

's fairytale) or simple cap
Cap
A cap is a form of headgear. Caps have crowns that fit very close to the head and have no brim or only a visor. They are typically designed for warmth and, when including a visor, blocking sunlight from the eyes...

 (in the Grimms' fairytale) she wears.
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Encyclopedia

Little Red Riding Hood, also known as Little Red Cap, is a French fairy tale
Fairy tale
A fairy tale is a type of short story that typically features such folkloric characters, such as fairies, goblins, elves, trolls, dwarves, giants or gnomes, and usually magic or enchantments. However, only a small number of the stories refer to fairies...

 about a young girl and a Big Bad Wolf
Big Bad Wolf
The Big Bad Wolf is a term used to describe a fictional wolf who appears in several precautionary folkloric stories, including some of Aesop's Fables and Grimm's Fairy Tales.-Interpretations:...

. The story has been changed considerably in its history and subject to numerous modern adaptations and readings.

This story is number 333 in the Aarne-Thompson classification system
Aarne-Thompson classification system
The Aarne–Thompson classification system is a system for classifying folktales. First developed by Antti Aarne and published in 1910, it was translated and enlarged by Stith Thompson...

 for folktales.

The tale


The story revolves around a girl called Little Red Riding Hood, after the red hood
Hood (headgear)
A hood is a kind of headgear that covers most of the head and neck and sometimes the face. They may be worn for protection from the environment, for fashion, as a form of traditional dress or uniform, to prevent the wearer from seeing or to prevent the wearer from being identified.-History and...

ed cape
Cape
Cape can be used to describe any sleeveless outer garment, such as a poncho, but usually it is a long garment that covers only the back half of the wearer, fastening around the neck. They were common in medieval Europe, especially when combined with a hood in the chaperon, and have had periodic...

/cloak
Cloak
A cloak is a type of loose garment that is worn over indoor clothing and serves the same purpose as an overcoat; it protects the wearer from the cold, rain or wind for example, or it may form part of a fashionable outfit or uniform. Cloaks are as old as human history; there has nearly always been...

 (in Perrault
Charles Perrault
Charles Perrault was a French author who laid the foundations for a new literary genre, the fairy tale, with his works derived from pre-existing folk tales. The best known include Le Petit Chaperon rouge , Cendrillon , Le Chat Botté and La Barbe bleue...

's fairytale) or simple cap
Cap
A cap is a form of headgear. Caps have crowns that fit very close to the head and have no brim or only a visor. They are typically designed for warmth and, when including a visor, blocking sunlight from the eyes...

 (in the Grimms' fairytale) she wears. The girl walks through the woods to deliver food to her sick grandmother.

A wolf wants to eat the girl but is afraid to do so in public. He approaches Little Red Riding Hood and she naïvely tells him where she is going. He suggests the girl pick some flowers, which she does. In the meantime, he goes to the grandmother's house and gains entry by pretending to be the girl. He swallows the grandmother whole, and waits for the girl, disguised as the grandma.

When the girl arrives, she notices that her grandmother looks very strange. Little Red Riding Hood then says, "What big hands you have!" In most retellings, this colloquy eventually culminates with Little Red Riding Hood saying, "My, what big teeth you have!" to which the wolf replies, "The better to eat you with" and swallows her whole, too.

A hunter, however, comes to the rescue and cuts the wolf open. Little Red Riding Hood and her grandmother emerge unharmed. They fill the wolf's body with heavy stones. The wolf awakens thirsty from his large meal and goes to the well to seek water, where he falls in and drowns. (Sanitized versions of the story have the grandmother shut in the closet instead of eaten, and some have Little Red Riding Hood saved by the hunter as the wolf advances on her, rather than after she is eaten.)

The tale makes the clearest contrast between the safe world of the village and the dangers of the forest
Enchanted forest
In literature, an enchanted forest is a forest under, or containing, enchantments. Such forests are described in the oldest folklore from regions where forests are common, and occur throughout the centuries to modern works of fantasy...

, conventional antitheses that are essentially medieval, though no written versions are as old as that. The original was supposed to be a warning to young women about the sexual appetites of men (and the wolf-like qualities that they possess).

Relationship to other tales


The theme of the ravening wolf and of the creature released unharmed from its belly
Stomach
The stomach is a muscular, hollow, dilated part of the alimentary canal which functions as an important organ of the digestive tract in some animals, including vertebrates, echinoderms, insects , and molluscs. It is involved in the second phase of digestion, following mastication .The stomach is...

 is also reflected in the Russian tale Peter and the Wolf
Peter and the Wolf
Peter and the Wolf , Op. 67, is a composition written by Sergei Prokofiev in 1936 in the USSR. It is a children's story , spoken by a narrator accompanied by the orchestra....

, and the other Grimm tale The Wolf and the Seven Young Kids
The Wolf and the Seven Young Kids
The Wolf and the Seven Young Kids is a German fairy tale collected by the Brothers Grimm, tale number 5. It is Aarne-Thompson type 123., but has a strong resemblance to The Three Little Pigs and other Aarne-Thomspson type 124 folktales, and to the variant of Little Red Riding Hood that the Grimms...

, but its general theme of restoration is at least as old as Jonah and the Whale
Book of Jonah
The Book of Jonah is a book in the Hebrew Bible. It tells the story of a Hebrew prophet named Jonah ben Amittai who is sent by God to prophesy the destruction of Nineveh but tries to escape the divine mission...

. The theme also appears in the story of the life of Saint Margaret
Margaret the Virgin
Margaret the Virgin, also known as Margaret of Antioch , virgin and martyr, is celebrated as a saint by the Roman Catholic and Anglican Churches on July 20; and on July 17 in the Orthodox Church. Her historical existence has been questioned; she was declared apocryphal by Pope Gelasius I in 494,...

, where the saint emerges unharmed from the belly of a dragon
Dragon
A dragon is a legendary creature, typically with serpentine or reptilian traits, that feature in the myths of many cultures. There are two distinct cultural traditions of dragons: the European dragon, derived from European folk traditions and ultimately related to Greek and Middle Eastern...

.

The dialog between the wolf and Little Red Riding Hood has its analogies to the Norse Þrymskviða
Þrymskviða
Þrymskviða is one of the best known poems from the Poetic Edda...

from the Elder Edda; the giant Þrymr had stolen Mjölner, Thor
Thor
In Norse mythology, Thor is a hammer-wielding god associated with thunder, lightning, storms, oak trees, strength, the protection of mankind, and also hallowing, healing, and fertility...

's hammer, and demanded Freyja as his bride for its return. Instead, the gods dressed Thor as a bride and sent him. When the giants note Thor's unladylike eyes, eating, and drinking, Loki
Loki
In Norse mythology, Loki or Loke is a god or jötunn . Loki is the son of Fárbauti and Laufey, and the brother of Helblindi and Býleistr. By the jötunn Angrboða, Loki is the father of Hel, the wolf Fenrir, and the world serpent Jörmungandr. By his wife Sigyn, Loki is the father of Nari or Narfi...

 explains them as Freyja not having slept, or eaten, or drunk, out of longing for the wedding.

melany and Elisha waz NOT here

Earliest versions


The origins of the Little Red Riding Hood story can be traced to versions from various European countries and more than likely preceding the 17th century, of which several exist, some significantly different from the currently known, Grimms-inspired version. It was told by French
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 peasants in the 14th century as well as in Italy, where a number of versions exist, including La finta nonna (The False Grandmother). It has also been called "The Story of Grandmother". It is also possible that this early tale has roots in very similar Oriental tales (e.g. "Grandaunt Tiger").

These early variations of the tale differ from the currently known version in several ways. The antagonist is not always a wolf, but sometimes an ogre
Ogre
An ogre is a large, cruel, monstrous, and hideous humanoid monster, featured in mythology, folklore, and fiction. Ogres are often depicted in fairy tales and folklore as feeding on human beings, and have appeared in many classic works of literature...

 or a ‘bzou’ (werewolf
Werewolf
A werewolf, also known as a lycanthrope , is a mythological or folkloric human with the ability to shapeshift into a wolf or an anthropomorphic wolf-like creature, either purposely or after being placed under a curse...

), making these tales relevant to the werewolf-trials (similar to witch trials) of the time (e.g. the trial of Peter Stumpp
Peter Stumpp
Peter Stumpp was a German farmer, accused of being a serial killer and a cannibal, also known as the "Werewolf of Bedburg"....

). The wolf usually leaves the grandmother’s blood and meat for the girl to eat, who then unwittingly cannibalises her own grandmother. Furthermore, the wolf was also known to ask her to remove her clothing and toss it into the fire. In some versions, the wolf eats the girl after she gets into bed with him, and the story ends there. In others, she sees through his disguise and tries to escape, complaining to her "grandmother" that she needs to defecate and would not wish to do so in the bed. The wolf reluctantly lets her go, tied to a piece of string so she does not get away. However, the girl slips the string over something else and runs off.

In these stories she escapes with no help from any male or older female figure, instead using her own cunning. Sometimes, though more rarely, the red hood is even non-existent.

Charles Perrault



The earliest known printed version was known as Le Petit Chaperon
Chaperon (headgear)
Chaperon was a form of hood or, later, highly versatile hat worn in all parts of Western Europe in the Middle Ages. Initially a utilitarian garment, it first grew a long partly decorative tail behind, and then developed into a complex, versatile and expensive headgear after what was originally the...

 Rouge
and had its origins in 17th century French folklore
Folklore
Folklore consists of legends, music, oral history, proverbs, jokes, popular beliefs, fairy tales and customs that are the traditions of a culture, subculture, or group. It is also the set of practices through which those expressive genres are shared. The study of folklore is sometimes called...

. It was included in the collection Tales and Stories of the Past with Morals. Tales of Mother Goose (Histoires et contes du temps passé, avec des moralités. Contes de ma mère l'Oye), in 1697, by Charles Perrault
Charles Perrault
Charles Perrault was a French author who laid the foundations for a new literary genre, the fairy tale, with his works derived from pre-existing folk tales. The best known include Le Petit Chaperon rouge , Cendrillon , Le Chat Botté and La Barbe bleue...

. As the title implies, this version is both more sinister and more overtly moralized than the later ones. The redness of the hood, which has been given symbolic significance in many interpretations of the tale, was a detail introduced by Perrault.

The story had as its subject an "attractive, well-bred young lady", a village girl of the country being deceived into giving a wolf she encountered the information he needed to find her grandmother's house successfully and eat the old woman while at the same time avoiding being noticed by woodcutters working in the nearby forest. Then he proceeded to lay a trap for the Red Riding Hood. The latter ends up being asked to climb into the bed before being eaten by the wolf, where the story ends. The wolf emerges the victor of the encounter and there is no happy ending.

Charles Perrault explained the 'moral' at the end so that no doubt is left to his intended meaning:
From this story one learns that children, especially young lasses, pretty, courteous and well-bred, do very wrong to listen to strangers, And it is not an unheard thing if the Wolf is thereby provided with his dinner. I say Wolf, for all wolves are not of the same sort; there is one kind
Rake (character)
A rake, short for rakehell, is a historic term applied to a man who is habituated to immoral conduct, frequently a heartless womanizer. Often a rake was a man who wasted his fortune on gambling, wine, women and song, incurring lavish debts in the process...

 with an amenable disposition – neither noisy, nor hateful, nor angry, but tame, obliging and gentle, following the young maids in the streets, even into their homes. Alas! Who does not know that these gentle wolves are of all such creatures the most dangerous!


This, the presumed original, version of the tale was written for late 17th century French court of King Louis XIV. This audience, whom the King entertained with extravagant parties and prostitutes, presumably would take from the story the intended meaning.

The Brothers Grimm



In the 19th century two separate German
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 versions were retold to Jacob Grimm
Jacob Grimm
Jacob Ludwig Carl Grimm was a German philologist, jurist and mythologist. He is best known as the discoverer of Grimm's Law, the author of the monumental Deutsches Wörterbuch, the author of Deutsche Mythologie and, more popularly, as one of the Brothers Grimm, as the editor of Grimm's Fairy...

 and his younger brother Wilhelm Grimm
Wilhelm Grimm
Wilhelm Carl Grimm was a German author, the younger of the Brothers Grimm.-Life and work:...

, known as the Brothers Grimm
Brothers Grimm
The Brothers Grimm , Jacob Grimm and Wilhelm Grimm , were German academics, linguists, cultural researchers, and authors who collected folklore and published several collections of it as Grimm's Fairy Tales, which became very popular...

, the first by Jeanette Hassenpflug (1791–1860) and the second by Marie Hassenpflug (1788–1856). The brothers turned the first version to the main body of the story and the second into a sequel of it. The story as Rotkäppchen was included in the first edition of their collection Kinder- und Hausmärchen (Children's and Household Tales (1812)).

The earlier parts of the tale agree so closely with Perrault's variant that it is almost certainly the source of the tale. However, they modified the ending; this version had the little girl and her grandmother saved by a huntsman who was after the wolf's skin; this ending is identical to that in the tale The Wolf and the Seven Young Kids
The Wolf and the Seven Young Kids
The Wolf and the Seven Young Kids is a German fairy tale collected by the Brothers Grimm, tale number 5. It is Aarne-Thompson type 123., but has a strong resemblance to The Three Little Pigs and other Aarne-Thomspson type 124 folktales, and to the variant of Little Red Riding Hood that the Grimms...

, which appears to be the source.

The second part featured the girl and her grandmother trapping and killing another wolf, this time anticipating his moves based on their experience with the previous one. The girl did not leave the path when the wolf spoke to her, her grandmother locked the door to keep it out, and when the wolf lurked, the grandmother had Little Red Riding Hood put a trough under the chimney and fill it with water that sausages had been cooked in; the smell lured the wolf down, and it drowned.

The Brothers further revised the story in later editions and it reached the above mentioned final and better known version in the 1857 edition of their work. It is notably tamer than the older stories which contained darker themes.

After the Grimms


Numerous authors have rewritten or adapted this tale.

Andrew Lang
Andrew Lang
Andrew Lang was a Scots poet, novelist, literary critic, and contributor to the field of anthropology. He is best known as a collector of folk and fairy tales. The Andrew Lang lectures at the University of St Andrews are named after him.- Biography :Lang was born in Selkirk...

 included a variant called "The True History of Little Goldenhood" in The Red Fairy Book (1890). He derived it from the works of Charles Marelles, in Contes of Charles Marelles. This version explicitly states that the story had been mistold earlier. The girl is saved, but not by the huntsman; when the wolf tries to eat her, its mouth is burned by the golden hood she wears, which is enchanted.

James N. Barker wrote a variation of Little Red Riding Hood in 1827 as an approximately 1000-word story. It was later reprinted in 1858 in a book of collected stories edited by William E Burton, called the Cyclopedia of Wit and Humor. The reprint also features a wood engraving of a clothed wolf on bended knee holding Little Red Riding Hood's hand.

In the 20th century, the popularity of the tale appeared to snowball, with many new versions being written and produced, especially in the wake of Freudian analysis, deconstruction
Deconstruction
Deconstruction is a term introduced by French philosopher Jacques Derrida in his 1967 book Of Grammatology. Although he carefully avoided defining the term directly, he sought to apply Martin Heidegger's concept of Destruktion or Abbau, to textual reading...

 and feminist critical theory
Feminist literary criticism
Feminist literary criticism is literary criticism informed by feminist theory, or by the politics of feminism more broadly. Its history has been broad and varied, from classic works of nineteenth-century women authors such as George Eliot and Margaret Fuller to cutting-edge theoretical work in...

. (See "Modern uses and adaptations" below.) This trend has also led to a number of academic texts being written that focus on Little Red Riding Hood, including works by Alan Dundes
Alan Dundes
Alan Dundes, was a folklorist at the University of California, Berkeley. His work was said to have been central to establishing the study of folklore as an academic discipline. He wrote 12 books, both academic and popular, and edited or co-wrote two dozen more...

 and Jack Zipes
Jack Zipes
Jack David Zipes is an American retired Professor of German at the University of Minnesota, who has published and lectured on the subject of fairy tales, their evolution, and their social and political role in civilizing processes...

.

Interpretations



Besides the overt warning about talking to strangers, there are many interpretations of the classic fairy tale, many of them sexual. Some are listed below.

Wolf attacks


Ethologist Valerius Geist of the University of Calgary
University of Calgary
The University of Calgary is a public research university located in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Founded in 1966 the U of C is composed of 14 faculties and more than 85 research institutes and centres.More than 25,000 undergraduate and 5,500 graduate students are currently...

, Alberta
Alberta
Alberta is a province of Canada. It had an estimated population of 3.7 million in 2010 making it the most populous of Canada's three prairie provinces...

 wrote that the fable was likely based on genuine risk of wolf attacks
Wolf attacks on humans
A wolf attack is an attack on a human by a wolf or wolves. Under normal circumstances, wild wolves are generally timid around humans. Wolves usually try to avoid contact with people, to the point of even abandoning their kills when an approaching human is detected, though there are several reported...

 at the time. He argues that wolves were in fact dangerous predators, and fables served as a valid warning not to enter forests where wolves were known to live, and to be on the look out for such. Both wolves and wilderness were treated as enemies of humanity in that region and time.

Natural cycles


Folklorists
Folkloristics
Folkloristics is the formal academic study of folklore. The term derives from a nineteenth century German designation of folkloristik to distinguish between folklore as the content and folkloristics as its study, much as language is distinguished from linguistics...

 and cultural anthropologists
Cultural anthropology
Cultural anthropology is a branch of anthropology focused on the study of cultural variation among humans, collecting data about the impact of global economic and political processes on local cultural realities. Anthropologists use a variety of methods, including participant observation,...

 such as P. Saintyves and Edward Burnett Tylor
Edward Burnett Tylor
Sir Edward Burnett Tylor , was an English anthropologist.Tylor is representative of cultural evolutionism. In his works Primitive Culture and Anthropology, he defined the context of the scientific study of anthropology, based on the evolutionary theories of Charles Lyell...

 saw "Little Red Riding Hood" in terms of solar myths and other naturally-occurring cycles. Her red hood could represent the bright sun which is ultimately swallowed by the terrible night (the wolf), and the variations in which she is cut out of the wolf's belly represent by it the dawn. In this interpretation, there is a connection between the wolf of this tale and Sköll
Skoll
In Norse mythology, Sköll is a wolf that chases the horses Árvakr and Alsviðr, that drag the chariot which contains the sun through the sky every day, trying to eat her. Sköll has a brother, Hati, who chases Máni, the moon...

, the wolf in Norse myth that will swallow the personified Sun at Ragnarök
Ragnarök
In Norse mythology, Ragnarök is a series of future events, including a great battle foretold to ultimately result in the death of a number of major figures , the occurrence of various natural disasters, and the subsequent submersion of the world in water...

, or Fenrir. Alternatively, the tale could be about the season of spring, or the month of May, escaping the winter.

Ritual


The tale has been interpreted as a puberty ritual, stemming from a prehistorical origin (sometimes an origin stemming from a previous matriarchal era). The girl, leaving home, enters a liminal state and by going through the acts of the tale, is transformed into an adult woman by the act of coming out of the wolf's belly.

Rebirth


Bruno Bettelheim
Bruno Bettelheim
Bruno Bettelheim was an Austrian-born American child psychologist and writer. He gained an international reputation for his work on Freud, psychoanalysis, and emotionally disturbed children.-Background:...

, in The Uses of Enchantment
The Uses of Enchantment
The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales is a 1976 work by Bruno Bettelheim in which the author analyses fairy tales in terms of Freudian psychology....

, recast the Little Red Riding Hood motif in terms of classic Freudian
Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud , born Sigismund Schlomo Freud , was an Austrian neurologist who founded the discipline of psychoanalysis...

 analysis, that shows how fairy tales educate, support, and liberate the emotions of children. The motif of the huntsman cutting open the wolf, he interpreted as a "rebirth"; the girl who foolishly listened to the wolf has been reborn as a new person.

Sexual awakening


Red Riding Hood has also been seen as a parable of sexual maturity. In this interpretation, the red cloak symbolizes the blood of menstruation, braving the "dark forest" of womanhood. Or the cloak could symbolize the hymen
Hymen
The hymen is a membrane that surrounds or partially covers the external vaginal opening. It forms part of the vulva, or external genitalia. The size of the hymenal opening increases with age. Although an often practiced method, it is not possible to confirm with certainty that a girl or woman is a...

 (earlier versions of the tale generally do not state that the cloak is red). In this case, the wolf threatens the girl's virginity. The anthropomorphic wolf symbolizes a man, who could be a lover, seducer or sexual predator. This differs from the ritual explanation in that the entry into adulthood is biologically, not socially, determined.

Norse myth


The poem Þrymskviða
Þrymskviða
Þrymskviða is one of the best known poems from the Poetic Edda...

from the Poetic Edda
Poetic Edda
The Poetic Edda is a collection of Old Norse poems primarily preserved in the Icelandic mediaeval manuscript Codex Regius. Along with Snorri Sturluson's Prose Edda, the Poetic Edda is the most important extant source on Norse mythology and Germanic heroic legends, and from the early 19th century...

mirrors some elements of Red Riding Hood. Loki
Loki
In Norse mythology, Loki or Loke is a god or jötunn . Loki is the son of Fárbauti and Laufey, and the brother of Helblindi and Býleistr. By the jötunn Angrboða, Loki is the father of Hel, the wolf Fenrir, and the world serpent Jörmungandr. By his wife Sigyn, Loki is the father of Nari or Narfi...

's explanations for "Freyja's" (actually Thor
Thor
In Norse mythology, Thor is a hammer-wielding god associated with thunder, lightning, storms, oak trees, strength, the protection of mankind, and also hallowing, healing, and fertility...

 disguised as Freya) strange behavior mirror the wolf's explanations for his strange appearance.

The red hood has often been given great importance in many interpretations, with a significance from the dawn to blood.

Modern uses and adaptations




There have been many modern uses and adaptations of Little Red Riding Hood, generally with a mock-serious reversal of Red Riding Hood's naïveté or some twist of social satire; they range across a number of different media and styles. Multiple variations have been written in the past century, in which authors adapt the Grimms' tale to their own interests.

The tale can be told in terms of Little Red Riding Hood's sexual attractiveness. The song "How Could Red Riding Hood (Have Been So Very Good)?" by A.P. Randolph in 1925 was the first song known to be banned from radio because of its sexual suggestiveness. The 1966 hit song "Lil' Red Riding Hood" by Sam the Sham & the Pharaohs takes the Wolf's point of view, implying that he wants love rather than blood. In the short animated cartoon
Animated cartoon
An animated cartoon is a short, hand-drawn film for the cinema, television or computer screen, featuring some kind of story or plot...

 Red Hot Riding Hood
Red Hot Riding Hood
Red Hot Riding Hood is an animated cartoon short subject, directed by Tex Avery and released on May 8, 1943 by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. In 1994 it was voted #7 of The 50 Greatest Cartoons of all time by members of the animation field...

by Tex Avery
Tex Avery
Frederick Bean "Fred/Tex" Avery was an American animator, cartoonist, voice actor and director, famous for producing animated cartoons during The Golden Age of Hollywood animation. He did his most significant work for the Warner Bros...

, the story is recast in an adult-oriented urban setting, with the suave, sharp-dressed Wolf howling after the nightclub singer Red. Avery used the same cast and themes in a subsequent series of cartoons. Allusions to the tale can be more or less overtly sexual, as when the color of a lipstick is advertised as "Riding Hood Red".

This sexual analysis may take the form of rape. In Against Our Will, Susan Brownmiller
Susan Brownmiller
Susan Brownmiller is an American feminist, journalist, author, and activist. She is best known for her pioneering work on the politics of rape in her 1975 book Against Our Will: Men, Women, and Rape, Brownmiller argues that rape had been hitherto defined by men rather than women; and that men use,...

 described the fairy tale as a description of rape. Many revisionist retellings depict Little Red Riding Hood or the grandmother successfully defending herself against the wolf.

The story may also serve as a metaphor for a sexual awakening, as in Angela Carter's
Angela Carter
Angela Carter was an English novelist and journalist, known for her feminist, magical realism, and picaresque works...

 story "The Company of Wolves", published in her collection The Bloody Chamber
The Bloody Chamber
The Bloody Chamber is a collection of short fiction by Angela Carter. It was first published in the United Kingdom in 1979 by Gollancz and won the Cheltenham Festival Literary Prize. All of the stories share a common theme of being closely based upon fairytales or folk tales...

(1979). (Carter's story was adapted into a film
The Company of Wolves
The Company of Wolves is a 1984 gothic fantasy-horror film directed by Neil Jordan, and starring Sarah Patterson and Angela Lansbury.The film is based on the werewolf story of the same name in Angela Carter's short story collection The Bloody Chamber...

 by Neil Jordan
Neil Jordan
Neil Patrick Jordan is an Irish filmmaker and novelist. He won an Academy Award for The Crying Game.- Early life :...

 in 1984.) In the story, the wolf is in fact a werewolf
Werewolf
A werewolf, also known as a lycanthrope , is a mythological or folkloric human with the ability to shapeshift into a wolf or an anthropomorphic wolf-like creature, either purposely or after being placed under a curse...

, and comes to newly-menstruating Red Riding Hood in the forest in the form of a charming hunter. He turns into a wolf and eats her grandmother, and is about to devour her as well, when she is equally seductive and ends up lying with the wolf man, her sexual awakening. Such tellings bear some similarity to the "animal bridegroom" tales, such as Beauty and the Beast
Beauty and the Beast
Beauty and the Beast is a traditional fairy tale. The first published version of the fairy tale was a rendition by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve, published in La jeune américaine, et les contes marins in 1740...

or The Frog Prince
The Frog Prince (story)
"The Frog Prince; or, Iron Henry" is a fairy tale, best known through the Brothers Grimm's written version; traditionally it is the first story in their collection. In the tale, a spoiled princess reluctantly befriends a frog , who magically transforms into a handsome prince...

, but where the heroines of those tales transform the hero into a prince, these tellings of Little Red Riding Hood reveal to the heroine that she has a wild nature like the hero's.

Little Red Riding Hood is also one of the central characters in the 1987 Broadway
Broadway theatre
Broadway theatre, commonly called simply Broadway, refers to theatrical performances presented in one of the 40 professional theatres with 500 or more seats located in the Theatre District centered along Broadway, and in Lincoln Center, in Manhattan in New York City...

 musical
Musical theatre
Musical theatre is a form of theatre combining songs, spoken dialogue, acting, and dance. The emotional content of the piece – humor, pathos, love, anger – as well as the story itself, is communicated through the words, music, movement and technical aspects of the entertainment as an...

 Into the Woods
Into the Woods
Into the Woods is a musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by James Lapine. It debuted in San Diego at the Old Globe Theatre in 1986, and premiered on Broadway in 1987. Bernadette Peters' performance as the Witch and Joanna Gleason's portrayal of the Baker's Wife brought acclaim...

by Steven Sondheim and James Lapine
James Lapine
James Lapine is an American stage director and librettist. He has won the Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical three times, for Into the Woods, Falsettos, and Passion. He has frequently collaborated with Stephen Sondheim and William Finn.-Biography:Lapine was born in Mansfield, Ohio and graduated...

. In the song, "I Know Things Now" she speaks of how he made her feel "excited, well, excited and scared," in a reference to the sexual undertones of their relationship. Red Riding Hood's cape is also one of the musical's four quest items that are emblematic of fairy tales.

Publishers like BeeGang and So Out maintained unaltered the original story written by Charles Perrault mainly adding interactivity or educational content to their book apps; Other publishers like BlueQuoll, an Australian publishing group, have pushed further the boundaries of the narration and re-invented the story even in the title, Mr. Wolf and the Ginger Cupcakes that puts the wolf at the center of the narration. In their version the element of good vs evil is removed from the story and the wolf is not portraited as a negative character that deserves to die miserably at the end of the story.

See also



  • Big Bad Wolf
    Big Bad Wolf
    The Big Bad Wolf is a term used to describe a fictional wolf who appears in several precautionary folkloric stories, including some of Aesop's Fables and Grimm's Fairy Tales.-Interpretations:...

  • Brothers Grimm
    Brothers Grimm
    The Brothers Grimm , Jacob Grimm and Wilhelm Grimm , were German academics, linguists, cultural researchers, and authors who collected folklore and published several collections of it as Grimm's Fairy Tales, which became very popular...

  • Charles Perrault
    Charles Perrault
    Charles Perrault was a French author who laid the foundations for a new literary genre, the fairy tale, with his works derived from pre-existing folk tales. The best known include Le Petit Chaperon rouge , Cendrillon , Le Chat Botté and La Barbe bleue...

  • Face value
    Face value
    The Face value is the value of a coin, stamp or paper money, as printed on the coin, stamp or bill itself by the minting authority. While the face value usually refers to the true value of the coin, stamp or bill in question it can sometimes be largely symbolic, as is often the case with bullion...

  • Hoodwinked
    Hoodwinked
    Hoodwinked!, also titled Hoodwinked on its theatrical poster and in other sources, is a 2005 American computer-animated family action comedy film, produced by Blue Yonder Films with Kanbar Entertainment, directed by Cory Edwards, Todd Edwards, Tony Leech, and produced by Maurice Kanbar, David K....

  • Ladle Rat Rotten Hut
  • Little Red Cap (Poem)
    Little Red Cap (poem)
    The Little Red Cap is a poem by Carol Ann Duffy published by Picador as a part of her 1999 collection of poetry titled The World's Wife. The book consists of poems that are based on old stories and tales in which she reshapes in terms of modern day culture. Duffy is known for her trait to take...



External links