Little Red Riding Hood
ITTLE RED RIDING HOOD (LRRH) is a boastful parody that pokes fun at a culture intent on reinventing language to satisfy its social ideals: the politically correct (pc). To fully understand the humor, the reader must have some comprehension and familiarity with the original story. LRRH has been transformed from the little girl, in the traditional tale, working through the issues of the oedipal complex, to an adult, who approaches the world through a woman’s mind and voice. LRRH is a secure woman who has clear boundaries and ideologies. +I am going to analyze James Finn Garner’s short story, “Little Red Riding Hood”. *I will discuss character, dialogue and symbolism. I will analyze the characters. Garner has effectively referenced many pc themes with very few characters. The mother is mentioned briefly only in the first paragraph. The actions of her character imply that she feels as though she has raised a confident and competent woman. She sends an unaccompanied LRRH into the dark, scary and unpredictable woods confident that her daughter is capable of dealing with the possible dangers that lie ahead. LRRH is an oxymoronic character. In one sense, she is caring, dutiful and respectful, and at the same time she is a strong feminist, appropriately dressed in red, with very anti-male ideals. She is the Gloria Steinem of the woods. This is most evident when the wood chopper person (log-fuel technician rushes to save her from being eaten by the wolf. She exclaims, “Sexist! Speciesist! How dare you assume that womyn and wolves can’t solve their own problems without a man’s help” (Garner, 1994, p.4). It is clear that LRRH is not going to succumb to the traditional perception of the meek, helpless woman. She is, however, willing to take orders from her mother to take a basket to her grandmother’s. She trekked through the woods to her grandmothers because supposedly, “it helped engender a feeling of community” (Garner, 1994, p.1). I think she was afraid to disobey her mother. The only thing worse than a staunch feminist is the one who instilled those radical beliefs: her mother. If LRRH was truly an individual, I’m sure she would’ve rather been out satisfying her own pleasures instead of dressing up in a ridiculous red outfit and hauling mineral water and fresh fruit through the woods to Grandmas. The character of the wolf is quite interesting. He is transformed from a vicious, overbearing carnivore to a cross dresser willing to live a life of harmony and mutual respect with LRRH and Grandma (two feminists). Grandma’s character is first defined as being in “…full physical and mental health and was fully capable of taking care of herself as a mature adult” (Garner, 1994, p.1). This is evident at the end of the story when she jumps out of the mouth of the wolf and cuts off the head of the log fuel technician who had come to rescue LRRH. It’s obvious that the strong sense of feminism and strength has been passed down from the matriarch, the grandmother, through two generations to her granddaughter. Lastly we have the poor log-fuel technician who tries to be the hero of the story. When he comes in to save LRRH, he is confronted by a feminist in a red suit, a cross-dressing wolf from whose mouth pops out a really angry and adamant senior citizen. The strong heroic traditional man is no longer needed in the feminist society. He dies trying to be kind and protective. The representation and interaction of these characters shows the absurd lengths at which society has gone to segregate and label people. I am going to analyze the dialogue. LRRH sets off on an adventure to her grandmother’s house. While walking through the woods she is confronted by a wolf. When told by the wolf she shouldn’t be walking alone because it’s unsafe, LRRH replies, “I find your sexist remark offensive in the extreme, but I will ignore it because of your traditional status as an outcast from society, the stress of which has caused you...
References: Garner, J.F. (1994). Politically Correct Bedtime Stories (1st Ed.). New York: Macmillan Publishing Company
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