Analyzing Little Red Riding Hood

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Analyzing “Little Red Riding Hood” Tammy J. Cooper ENG 125 Instructor Adenekan 3 March 2013 Analyzing “Little Red Riding Hood” In life, at one time or another we have had a moment that we have so innocently put ourselves in the path of harm or danger, just as the young woman in the short story “Little Red Riding Hood” (Perrault, 1697). We all need to beware of our surrounding, to be very careful about talking to strangers. For danger, violence, and even death can come disguised in familiar things as the theme in “Little Red Riding Hood” suggests.

There are several literary elements that contribute to the theme of the story of “Little Red Riding Hood”. I will analyze these elements as I have interpreted them. Perrault uses omniscient point of view to tell this story. This is observed in the first sentence of the first paragraph, “Once upon a time there lived in a certain village a little country girl, the prettiest creature who was ever seen” (as cited in Clugston, 2010, section 4. 1, para. 1).

Omniscient point of view simply means that the reader is privy to every characters inner thoughts and feelings; in addition it allows the reader to go in and out of each character thoughts throughout the story. In this short story the reader gets the thoughts and feelings of both Little Red and the wolf. The tone of “Little Red Riding Hood” is a message to teach the danger in talking to or trusting strangers. For many strangers cannot and should not be trusted. That evil does exist and it has many faces, even familiar faces.

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The setting of this story is a medieval village on the edge of a large dark forest. Which today could be a lovely suburb on the edge of a huge unfriendly dark city? This story has five characters in it; however, the story focuses on the young woman wearing a red-hooded cape, the wolf, and their encounter, “As she was going through the wood, she met with a wolf, who had a very great mind to eat her up, but he dared not, because of some woodcutters working nearby in the forest. He asked her where she was going. The poor child, who did ot know that it was dangerous to stay and talk to a wolf, said to him, “I am going to see my grandmother and carry her a cake and a little pot of butter from my mother” (as cited in Clugston, 2010, section 4. 1, para. 4). In reading “Little Red Riding Hood”, my interpretation of the symbolism is based on things in the 21st century. In my mind, I see Red not as a little girl but as a young woman just coming of age. She is very beautiful and quite desirable. The wolf is not a four-legged animal but a two-legged man with bad morals and evil thoughts.

There are various kinds of wolves. There are those who are charming, quiet, polite, unassuming, complacent, and sweet who pursue young woman at home and in the street. And unfortunately, it is these gentle wolves who are the most dangerous ones of all. Whereas, Red still thinks with a pure, loving, and trusting heart and mind as do many young females do today? In addition, where it say the wolf eats Red, “And, saying these words, this wicked wolf fell upon Little Red Riding Hood, and ate her all up (as cited in Clugston, 2010, section 4. 1, para. 27).

The wolf does not actually eat Red but rapes and violates her stealing her innocence from her forever. The plot of the story contributes to the theme of the story by telling us of the dangers of talking to strangers. We all need to beware of our surroundings and to be so very careful in speaking to strangers, for danger, violence, loss of innocence, and even death can come disguised in things and people that are very familiar to us.


  • Clugston, R. W. , (2010). Journey into Literature.

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