Little Red Riding Hood – Bettelheim’s Analysis Summarized From the Skeptical Inquirer, Sept, 2000 by Martin Gardner (http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2843) Little Red Riding Hood
Went walking through a wood.
She met a wolf and stopped to chat.
Don't ask what happened after that!
Armand T. Ringer
One of the funniest of all games played by Freudian literary critics is that of finding sex symbols in old fairy tales. It is a very easy game to play. Freud is said to have once remarked that a cigar sometimes is just a cigar, but psychoanalysts who write about fairy tales seem incapable of seeing them as just fantasies intended to entertain, instruct, and at times frighten young children. Bruno Bettelheim's analysis of Little Red Riding Hood (LRRH), in his book The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales (1976) is a prime example of Freudian symbol searching. But first, a brief history of this famous fable. The story began as a folk tale that European mothers and nurses told to young children. The fable, in its many variants, came to the attention of Charles Perrault (1628-1703), a French attorney turned poet, writer, and anthologist. He published one version in a 1697 collection of fairy tales-a book that became a French juvenile classic. Perrault opens his story "Le Petit Chaperon Rouge" (Little Red Cape) by telling about a pretty village girl who is called Little Red Riding Hood because she loves to wear a red cape and hood given to her by her grandmother. Her mother hands her some biscuits and butter to take to the sick grandmother in a nearby village. Walking through a wood, LRRH encounters a friendly wolf who asks where she is going. After she tells him, the wolf says he'll go there too, but by a different route and they'll see who gets there first. The wolf arrives ahead of the girl, devours the grandmother, then crawls into bed. When LRRH shows up he simulates the grandmother's voice, telling her to put the biscuits and...
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