To what extent is feminist criticism helpful in opening up potential meaning in the “Little Red Cap?”
Firstly, the title of the poem instantly creates a sense of intrigue as it is very similar to the title of Little Red Riding Hood the children’s story. This poem has been laid out very well because it gives the reader’s an opportunity to connect all similarities and differences to the children’s story. It also allows the reader to notice the huge contrast between both of the poems. For example, the young girl within the children’s story is portrayed as young, innocent and naïve whereas within the poem there is a sense of omniscience, independence and intelligence from the young girl. In the first stanza of the poem, Duffy begins with a metaphor “At childhood’s end”. This portrays that childhood is so powerful it has been described as a physical place signifying that childhood is the stem to life and how a person is brought up to become the person they are in the future. The feminist criticism is helpful in opening up potential meaning in the little red cap because it portrays women from a completely different perspective. It states at the beginning of the poem “like mistresses by kneeling married men” this conveys how men are taking over the role of women and how women may not all be as innocent as they seem. From a feminist perspective they may view it as a positive as the role that the men have in the poem they would usually be expected to do. The poem completely diverts the social norm of the original little red riding hood as the little girl within the poem instead of being scared she portrays her fascination full of anticipation in the lines “what big ears he had!” “What big eyes he had!” “What teeth” which portrays her lack of nervousness which contrasts with her emotions from the original as originally she is scared. The young girl’s omniscience is portrayed in the line “away from home to a dark tangled thorny place” as this suggests that she is...
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