Episode 10 – Remixing Little Red Riding Hood

In this episode, Group 8 chats Little Red Riding Hood retellings in TV and film.

Little Red Riding Hood

Oxford Dictionary

Doted

A combination of…

  • To be silly, deranged, or out of one’s wits; to act or talk foolishly or stupidly.
  • To be weak-minded from old age; to have the intellect impaired by reason of age.

Bobbin

  • A rounded piece of wood attached to a string, which passes through a door, and is fastened to the latch, so as to raise it.

Hoarse

  • Rough and deep-sounding, as the voice when affected with a cold, or the voice of a raven or frog; harsh and low in pitch; not clear and smooth like a pure musical note; husky, croaking, raucous.

Archetypal Characters

  • Little Red Riding Hood
  • The Mother
  • The Grandmother
  • The Wolf

Images

  • Cake and a little pot of butter:
    • Representation of poverty
    • Innocence
  • Red Hood
    • “19th century many young daughters of wealthy families were painted wearing red caps or hoods”
    • Menstruation and the approaching of puberty
  • Wolf
    • Become a popular image in fairy tales
    • Common predator in a forest
    • Often a metaphor for a sexually predatory man
  • Forest
    • Endless source of inspiration
    • Represents unknown and very serious danger
    • Many heros get lost in a forest and come back as a more developed person

Questions

  • Why did the Wolf say, “Come get into bed with me.”?
    • Sexual connotation
  • Why Red?
    • Scarlet or red is a sexually vibrant and suggestive color
    • At one time, it was not worn by morally upright women thanks to its sinful symbolism
    • It’s also the color of blood with all of its connotations
  • Little Red Riding Hood doesn’t always die. Should this fairy tale have a happy ending or remain sad specifically the Charles Perrault version?

The Script

Introductions

Megan: Hi this is group 8 doing our anarchy episode. I’m Megan, a sophomore at the University of Oregon

Katelyn: Katelyn, I’m a sophomore at UofO

Sarah: Sarah, a sophmore at UofO.

Overview Retellings

Katelyn: Today, we will be talking about ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ a fairytale first published in the late 17th Century written by Charles Perrault. We are going to be linking modern retellings such as Hoodwinked the movie, Once Upon a Time the Red-Handed episode, and the Grimm pilot episode to this classic tale. These modern retellings have been evolving with time, and definitely encompassing different meanings for each generation and culture.

Discussion of Source Story Archetypes

Megan: The archetypal characters we are identifying in this story are Little Red Riding Hood, The Wolf, The Grandmother, and The Mother. Little Red represents the fool and she is easily manipulated. I think this is because of her young age and innocence, which leads to her death. I think her innocence draws from a lack of a father figure in her life, but also the fact that she literally lives in the middle of the forest. Like what is there to learn there, when you’re so secluded. Also an interesting thing done by the author is the choice of language used to identify who she is, the author referred to her as the “prettiest creature” which dehumanizes her to be merely prey.

Sarah: Going off of what you said Megan, it is evident that predators catch prey. The Wolf, is seen a predator both animalistically and sexually. For example, the Wolf says, “Come get into bed with me” which refers as a sexual connotation. Males are also sometimes referred to as dogs which ties back into the character of The Wolf. Moreover, The Wolf can be seen as dominant and an alpha male prying on the innocence of a little girl. I mean, who wouldn’t think that an old man trying to get with a little girl is creepy.

Megan: Unlike most fairy tales, the grandmother and the mother are not seen as prominent figures. The grandmother should represent a wise crone but instead she’s a senile old lady. The grandmother’s illness also makes her innocent and vulnerable like Little Red Riding Hood. For instance the story reads that, “The good grandmother, who was in bed, because she was somewhat ill, cried out, ‘Pull the bobbin, and the latch will go up.’.” This reiterates what is previously mentioned. The grandmother’s innocence and naivety ultimately leads to her death.

Katelyn: What also stood out to me is that the mother directed her daughter to visit her grandmother maybe because she doesn’t get to see her very often and it was important to care for her grandmother and give her sweets while she was ill. In my own family, it’s extremely important to visit my grandparents when they are ill because I’m unable to see them frequently.

Katelyn: Another character that I found interesting was the mother. She wasn’t a present figure in her daughter’s life whatsoever. I can’t imagine trying to grow up without a motherly role model or even a fatherly role model in this aspect. I think she should’ve had a sense of security for her only child and lacked the parental figure she needed to be. Considering she’s quote on quote “excessively fond of her…” Little Red Riding Hood was sent off by her mother to deliver cake and a pot of butter to her ill ridden grandmother into a dark forest unsupervised. I believe that the cake and pot of butter represented a lack of wealth because these two food items are in other words a fatty food.

Megan: We are unsure why the author chose a cake rather than a piece of bread because during that time desserts in general represented wealth. Another controversial image is the red hood. The most prominent image of the red hood is that is portrayed menstruation and coming of age yet during the 17th century red was a sinful color.

Sarah: A well known book The Scarlet Letter, written by Nathaniel Hawthorne in 1850, really shows the significance of how the color red is seen as a sinful color. During the 19th century, well after the publication of Little Red Riding Hood, women who committed adultery were marked with a scarlet A. Only women with bad reputations wore red dresses and Perrault could have suggested to this as part of Little Red Riding Hood’s coming of age. I find it interesting that in time period the color red can have multiple meanings. This furthermore supports our argument of evolving times and different perceptions in each generation.

Katelyn: Another interesting archetypal image I noticed in multiple fairytales, is the forest. It seems as if the forest is a place for heroic characters to get lost in, however, they do seem to return as a more responsible and developed person. This fairytale definitely contradicts that assumption. The forest more importantly represents an unknown place and a dangerous environment. I also find it interesting that this forest is considered a dangerous place because in most modern retellings nowadays, forests have happy and nice animals that help these characters progress and find their way home or find their way to their destinations.

Megan: talk about Snow White

Sarah: Overall, through our modern retellings, we’ve found that the new story lines of these fairytales are attracting everyone because of the constant change and differences in this tale.

katelyn: Okay I think it’s a good time for us to now talk a little bit more about our individual retellings, and how these archetypes have changed and are challenged in the stories we watched and ill pass it on to megan

Individual Analysis

Katelyn: There are various retellings and modern adaptations of Little Red Riding Hood and one that I watched is the intriguing and well-known TV series, Once Upon a Time. “Red-Handed” is the fifteenth episode on season one of Once Upon a Time. This American fantasy drama television series is written by Jane Espenson and directed by Ron Underwood. It premiered on March 11, 2012.

This episode is a modern retelling of the Little Red Riding Hood fairytale. It focuses on Red Riding Hood, her Grandmother, and the Wolf. In the fairytale land, Red Riding Hood and her fellow townspeople are virtual prisoners when a bloodthirsty wolf continues its ruthless killing. This village is planning to go after this wolf that had been killing their cattle. Red Riding Hood was eager to go on this hunt, however, Granny commanded her to stay inside with her red cloak on.

Little Red Riding Hood and Red-Handed might be one and the same with subtle hints that allude to the original tale. The key archetypal characters in both fairy tales are Little Red Riding Hood and Red, the Grandmother and Granny and the Wolf.

The main archetypal character, Red Riding Hood is an important creature and a popular image in tales. The difference in these two fairy tales is that Little Red Riding Hood is a little country girl while Red is a human and a werewolf.

Wolfs are common predators and bloodthirsty creatures. Both tales use this wild animal as a powerful creature who has already won, just by existing in this world and harming individuals. However, the main difference of the Wolf is that the original uses this character as a metaphor for a sexually predatory man while the modern retelling uses a human who can transform into a werewolf. This occurs if is she isn’t wearing her iconic red cloak.

The symbolism of this red cloak and hood are different from each other. The enchanted cloak is used to repel a shift during the full moon in the retelling tale. Red’s grandmother paid a wizard for that cloak to keep her from turning. While Little Red Riding Hood was given a red hood from a good woman. It suited the girl so extremely well and gave her the name, Little Red Riding Hood. In the 19th century this red hood portrayed the idea that young daughters of wealthy families were painted wearing red caps or hoods.

Red is an important color because it can symbolize a sexually vibrant and suggestive color while also symbolizing the approach of puberty and blood. These two ideas link together to create an important image in this fairy tale.

There are important lessons to be learned in both tales. Well-bred young ladies should never talk to strangers or they will be dinner for a wolf. Also, listen to your family and be careful when you disobey them because it may backfire to harm you and your people. The truth may arise at the most dangerous time of all so be prepared.

Sarah: For my individual analysis, I will discuss and compare the archetypes and archetypal characters found in Little Red Riding Hood and the television series Grimm, specifically the Pilot episode. Grimm’s pilot episode first aired on October 28, 2011 and was filmed in Portland, Oregon.

The show opens up with a young women wearing a red hoodie and she is about to go on a run. She goes for a run through some nature trails and stops when she finds a peculiar figurine on the ground. Once she stopped, she picked up the figurine and was suddenly attacked by a wolf-like creature. The lead protagonist Jack, is a Portland police officer who responds to the crime scene. The only trace to the suspect was a large shoe print, that resembled a boot. On the other hand, Jack also finds out from his dying Aunt that he is part of a long family line of Grimms who can see the beast-like creatures the Brothers Grimm originally thought up. These beast-like creatures lurk among everyone else and appear as regular people, however the Grimms can see them for who they really are. Continuing, another little girl wearing a red jacket was set to walk a mile to visit her grandfather who lives just on the other side of her neighborhood. The little girl cut through the woods as a shortcut. The original suspect who killed the first girl in red happens to be the mailman. The mailman shifts into a wolf and kidnaps the little girl. When the wolf returned to his home deep in the woods, he opened a latch on the floor that leads to a basement. The basement was set up like a little girls room and had a stocked closet of red jackets. The wolf opens the bag and releases the little girl on the bed. The wolf then shuts the latch and traps the girl. A news crew interviews the little girl’s distraught parents which gave Jack more information to find the suspect. Jack goes to the house in the woods and eventually kills the wolf and frees the girl from the basement. There are many things that I found interesting and that stood out to me in this episode compared to the traditional story. First off, Portland!!!there a multiple little red riding hoods. Both girls are of different ages, one in college and the other in elementary school. In the Grimm version of little red riding hood, the protagonist Jack closely resembles the Huntsman who evidently saves little red riding hood. Where in Perrault version, she gets eaten by the wolf. Not to mention that the little girl has both her mother and her father shown. Whereas in the story, she only has her mother. The parents were very passive and not as protective of their child similar to the story. Also, the girl was to visit her grandfather and not her grandmother like in the story. In the episode male figures are highlighted more than in the story. The wolf, for example, still holds the same archetypal traits as in the story. The wolf is predatorial in both ways whether deliberately shown or not. He kidnapped a little girl and held her hostage.

Megan:

Little Red Riding Hood has been retold in numerous styles from TV series, to comic books. Through these retellings we hear different versions, but we also hear many similarities. In the retelling, I watched I found and heard hidden meanings from the original version of Little Red Riding Hood. The modern retelling, I watched is “Hoodwinked” directed by Cory Edwards, Todd Edwards, and Tony Leech. Produced by Kanbar Entertainment, and Blue Yonder Films. Released January 13th, 2006. “Hoodwinked” is the story of Little Red Riding Hood, but they put a twist on it, and turn it into a crime investigation. Someone is stealing receipts from all the goodie shops, and Granny’s shop is next. It’s up to Red to keep Granny’s receipts safe from the bandit. When Red gets to Granny’s house she is taken back to find the wolf dressed as Granny Which leads to a full-blown investigation on who is stealing the receipts, and each of them are a suspect.

        “Hoodwinked” retells Little Red Riding Hood in an interesting way. Why do they do that? Well that’s a question I hope to uncover through my own analysis. In the beginning, Red uses lines that come straight out of the original story. She says, “Grandma what big arms you have” and does that continuous back and forth conversation with the wolf. That’s not the only thing “Hoodwinked” touches on in their version of Little Red Riding Hood. During an interaction between the wolf and Red, Red brings up not supposed to be talking to strangers. This is the meaning behind why Little Red Riding Hood was created. Both versions of the story take place in the woods, but what makes “Hoodwinked” different is that the woods is mostly filled with talking and singing animals while Little Red Riding Hood is majority human. Like we touched on in the beginning the forest is supposed be a dark forbidden place, but in recent telling of most fairy tales they turn it into a happy place, filled with happy animals.

        Where they differ is interesting too. In the original story, the wolf is an antagonist in the story, and in “Hoodwinked” the wolf is an innocent man seen as a bad guy because the stereotype of a wolf is directly related to evil. When Red was first created she was seen has lovable, innocent, pretty, and naive. In “Hoodwinked” they decide to make her someone who is strong, witty and seeking independence and or adventure. As for the grandmother, she originally is seen as senile, but in “Hoodwinked” she is courageous, and very independent.

        In my opinion, the writers of “Hoodwinked” strayed away from the archetypes in the original Little Red Riding Hood because they wanted to make women look strong and independent rather than weak and little minded. The writers of “Hoodwinked” did this through Red and Granny. They didn’t feed into the stereotypes, and gave each character the opposite of how the original story portrays them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *