Friday, 25 March 2011

The analysis of Red Riding Hood and or The wolves catered dinner

You probably think you know this story. It is one of the oldest stories of mankind, of course we have adapted it but I wouldn't be surprised if our caveman ancestors weren't telling their kids about how the big bad Grok came after little Oogra (1)


Little Red Riding Hood, so called because she is little and wears a red riding hood (2), is given a basket of food by her mother and the task of taking it to her Grandma who lives by herself and is not feeling well.
She cautions Red not to stray from the path or talk to strangers which is fair enough.

Rather predictably it isn't long before she strays from the path. Sometimes to pick berries other times to chase butterflies. it depends which version you read but the important thing is that it is here that she meets up with Bigbad the Wolf (3)
Bigbad cleverly finds out whats in the basket, by asking her and also where she is going, again by asking her (4)
It runs ahead to grandmas house and gets her to open the door by pretending to be Little Red, he then eats the grandmother whole (5) Not content with one human, it is, after all, the BIG bad wolf it gets dressed in grandmas nightclothes and gets into bed (6)

When Red arrives Bigbad calls to her to come into the bedroom and Red does the whole “Oh grandma what big eyes, ears, etc you have”
Finally she mentions the teeth and Bigbad, not being one to pass up a straight line like that says “all the better to eat you with”

Now in some versions you'll hear the woodsman enters at that time, for no apparent reason other than obeying the narrative. In older versions the wolf eats Red (7) and goes to sleep which is understandable, he's just had a very heavy meal after all.
It is while the wolf is sleeping that the woodsman, who has been hunting the wolf, stops off at Grandmas house to see if he can have something to drink. he finds the wolf sleeping and kills him and after opening up the wolfs stomach (8) both Red and Grandma pop out

  •  Exactly why does "Grandma" live by herself in the woods?  The obvious answer is a witch! (9) but she may be one of the good ones since Reds mother is sending her a care package when she is ill.
  • What are the mothers motives?She sends her daughter through a wolf infested forest with a big bag of goodies and the only precaution she takes is "Don't stray from the path?"  Was it too much effort to pin a ham to Red and scream "Victim here!  Victim here!" Something doesn't add up here and I would not be surprised to discover that someone was angling for an insurance payout (10)
  • Why doesn't Red lie?When the wolf is asking all these questions about Grandma why didn't it occur to Red to say “I'm going to visit my good and dear friend WolfyChopchop the Woodsman, don't people have such quaint names around here?” The wolf would then think “Ahh, I might actually leave this one alone and go hunt butterflies instead”
  • How slowly are Red and Grandma being digested?The wolf has time to eat Grandma whole, eat Red whole and drift off to sleep. Surely the gastric juices would have started on the pair in his belly. I don't know, maybe they were wearing HAZMAT suits the whole time. 
  • What would the wolf have done if Red hadn't mentioned what big teeth grandma had?
    More than likely he was sitting on “all the better to eat you with” as soon as Red started going on and on about how big his eyes were and how sharp his nails have gotten. So he probably would have kept hinting at things until she mentioned teeth. Considering the differences between a wolf and Grandma I think Red could have kept him occupied just a little longer.


If we can accept that Bigbad is a metaphor for a those who prey on children then we must ask ourselves why didn't the wolf eat Red when he encountered her on the road? The best time would have been after the big info dump of where Grandma lives, Does she live alone? Are there any ways into the house besides the door?
Perhaps he didn't eat her because through his actions of posing as Grandma Bigbad lets us know that predators can come from all around us, even in our own families (11)

The moral of this story is supposed to be don't talk to strangers (12) but I think that perhaps it should be “If a giant talking wolf pretends to be your granddaughter ask it a few family questions before opening the door(13)”

  1. And then she hit him with a club. Caveman stories lack much of the subtlety of our modern versions.
  2. and yet she walks through the woods to grandmas house
  3. dun Dun DUN
  4. At this point, were I the wolf I would seriously question my desire to eat someone so very stupid
  5. As wolves so often do
  6. The perfect disguise indeed
  7. And there was much rejoicing
  8. For reasons of his own that I am not paid enough to speculate on.
  9. She weighs the same as a duck and is therefore the envy of fat housewives everywhere.
  10. Is it wrong to trust the mother less than I trust the wolf?
  11. Certainly not when they're wolves
  12. At least pretend to make an effort and look out the window.

No comments:

Post a Comment