This essay will examine the literary styles and the cultural influences in The Little Red Riding Hood. The essay will describe the background on Little Red Riding Hood and its origins to get an idea of where the story came from and how it was brought up. Next, it will identify the literary styles in Little Red Cap by the Brothers Grimm. The literary styles will include mostly symbolism, with theme and diction.
Symbolism is important in the Little Red Cap because it reveals the hidden meanings of sexuality in the story that people now wouldn’t believe. The literary styles in a modern version, a “politically correct version”, of Little Red Riding Hood by James Finn Garner will be analyzed. He focuses on the feminist views that society has today in his version of the story. The cultural influences that influenced the Grimm brothers to write their fairy tales will be described. The political and educational views of their time impacted how they wrote Little Red Cap because they wanted to teach moral lessons and keep the girl in the story and less forwardly sexual and more innocent in their tale. The literary styles in the Grimm’s version is mostly full of setting, theme, symbols, structure, motifs, and plot. The cultural influences for Germany and America are the same for the cultural influences in Little Red Riding Hood. The educational views about teaching moral lessons for the Grimm’s and the feminist views for America. The conclusion is that the literary styles are different in Little Red Riding Hood for Germany and America. The cultural influences for Germany is different in that the females are always being saved by a strong man in the Grimm’s stories; and in America, females are becoming more independent and believe that they can take care of themselves, that they do not need a strong man to save them. The cultural influences are the same in that they both want to teach moral lessons in their fairy tales, as Little Red Riding Hood teach valuable moral lessons to the children.
The Little Red Riding Hood is a story almost every child has heard or read. It is a popular story that holds meaning and purpose in a child’s, and even adults, life. Those meanings and purposes have changed between each version of the fairy tale. There are many versions of Little Red Riding Hood, going as far back to the 1st century AD, when the story of The Wolf and the Kids originated. This story was an oral tale told in Europe and the Middle East that later spread to Asia. According to Jamshid J. Tehrani in his Phylogeny of Little Red Riding Hood, Little Red Riding Hood branched off of the oral tale a thousand years later. The modern version of the fairy tale is closely related to and is based off of Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm’s 1812 version of the fairy tale, Little Red Cap; and they based their tale off of the earliest European version, in 1697, by Charles Perrault. Perrault based his version of Little Red Riding Hood from older, oral tradition of storytelling in Europe. Each story is based off an earlier version of the same tale, and each changed to fit the authors wants and needs. For example, in “Little Red Riding Hood” Then and Now, Faye R. Johnson and Carole M. Carroll stated that between Perrault’s version and the Grimm brothers version, the eroticism and worldliness from Perrault tale changed to innocence in the Grimm’s, the effort to educate the young changed, there was an emphasis on model family relations, and punishments result in learning critical lessons. Modern versions also changed certain aspects of the tale from the Grimm’s: the tale is more simplistic and didactic, there is less emphasis on the grandmother’s illness, there is less violence, and the gift of wine to the grandmother was eliminated. Each Little Red Riding Hood tale is based off of another, and it goes back to the oral traditions of storytelling.
In Little Red Cap, every little detail in the story has a purpose and a greater meaning. In the fairy tale, symbolism is a major literary style that is used throughout the tale; theme and diction are also used. Symbolism is a very important factor in the fairy tale because it is frequently used and leads to the theme of the story. For symbolism, many things in the tale lead back to sex, and she is confronted with it throughout the story. Her red cap symbolizes menstruation, it represents that she is now a young lady and needs to be cautious of sex on her journey to her grandmothers. Her mother warns her not to stray from the path, a message to stay careful from sex; however, Little Red Cap does not listen to her mother and does not stay on the path. As a result, she runs into the Wolf. The Wolf symbolizes a man’s sexual desire, or a sexual predator. People often call men who constantly desire for sex dogs, and the wolf is part of that expression. When the wolf eats her, this is an act of sexual desires and symbolizes an uncontrolled appetite, “According to Jack Zipes, the eating of Little Red Riding Hood is a sexual act, symbolizing the uncontrollable appetite or chaos of nature”. When the huntsman comes and saves Red Riding Hood, this symbolizes male dominance, where only a man can save the girl. The end of the fairy tale shows the theme of Little Red Cap: To head warning on the danger of sex, and that there are consequences for not listening to her mother. The forest is another part of symbolism, it symbolizes inspiration. Because of the unknown and danger in the forest, the children that go in come out more mature. Whatever danger that lies within the forest inspires the once innocent child to be more mature.
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