Little Red Riding Hood: Good vs. Evil
For generations there has always been a constant battle between good and evil. In society today, and societies in the past, people have struggled over the desire to be good, and the temptation to be evil. In one single tale we see different forms of good and evil, as well as how different ideas become viewed as good and evil as time goes on. The tale of Little Red Riding Hood is one that has allowed authors to write and rewrite over and over in order to fit into the beliefs of society, during specific time periods. Two tales in particular have allowed for deeper discussion into the definition of good and evil. The Brothers Grimm tale, “Little Red Cap”, was written and published in the 1800s; their target audience what that of school aged, middle-class children. The second of the two tales is that of Charles Perrault. “Little Red Riding Hood”, written and published in the late 1600s, his target audience was that of young girls would have the potential to be tempted by elder men. Through analysis of the texts it is clear that throughout different societies there are multiple types of good as well as evil. Whether it is the idea of obedience being of the utmost importance, or chastity being of the utmost importance, these two tales teach lesson after lesson to their audience. In the Brothers Grimm tale, “Little Red Cap”, it is made very clear that obedience is of the utmost importance. The intended audience for this tale was that of middle-class, school aged children, during the early 1800s. At this time it was understood that children were to be respectful and compliant of their elders, specifically their parents. In this tale the mother gives drawn out specific instructions as to what Little Red Riding Hood (LRRH) is to do; Look, Little Red Cap. Here’s a piece of cake and a bottle of wine. Take them to your grandmother. She is ill and feels weak, and they will give her strength. You better start now before it gets too hot, and when you’re out in the woods, walk properly and don’t stray from the path. Otherwise you’ll fall and break the glass, and then there’ll be nothing for grandmother. And when you enter her room, don’t forget to say good morning, and don’t go peeping in all the corners of the room.(7)
The mother’s long drawn out instructions for what LRRH was to do show the audience the importance of listening to instructions. She says specifically what Little Red is to do, along with what she is not to do, much like a mother of this time period would have done. But in this tale, LRRH does not listen to her mother’s instructions exactly; instead she is tricked into frolicking by the wolf, and ends up showing up to her grandmother’s house to be eaten by the same wolf that tricked her. This half of the story is important because it contains the main lesson for children that if they disobey orders, and stray from the path, bad things will happen. The intended audience, being school aged children, were told this story as an exaggerated warning. The likelihood of them being eaten by a wolf because they strayed from a path is very minimal, but it allows for them to see an example of how bad things will happen if they defy the orders that their elders gave to them. The Brothers Grimm does a wonderful job exemplifying why it is of the utmost importance for children to be obedient and well behaved. The Brothers Grimm not only shows that listening to orders from one’s elders as being a good and important thing, but they also show that the tempting of innocence is a corrupt and evil thing. The audience for The Brothers Grim believed that it was essential to work hard, be reasonable, and take life seriously. They display how not doing these things or causing others to not do these things is a sense of evil through the story of Little Red Riding Hood. In their version of the story, they show LRRH being fooled into dilly-dallying through flowers after she runs...
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