What “Little Red Riding Hood” Says to Today’s Children

Fairy tales change this is an established fact, so although there have been many speculations of the meanings of Red Riding Hood, from symbolic representations, to sexual desires one must keep in mind that the one telling the story and receiving it are the key players in determining what the story means. As it is doubtful that any modern writer of the Little Red Riding Hood fairy tale is attempting to create a story with sexual meanings, or that any parent is telling it is such a way that one could draw this from the text all such ideas can be cast out of the story.

Most modern books which have this story in it tell the story of a girl who has a loving family. And as a favor to both her mother Little Red takes some items to her Grandmother. In such stories the girl meets the wolf in the woods and tells him what she is doing. In the past this may not always have been as negative as it is today, however today children are instructed on the dangers of speaking with strangers, and this has in fact added a new dimension to this story. This has occurred as a social change, and does not require the story to have the mother instruct Little Red in the story as one can presume that most loving American mothers would have done this. If the mother has not then the story becomes instruction to the mother to do so.

It is important to keep in mind with stories such as this that part of the instruction is to the parent as much as to the child. With this in mind one could argue that it is also questioning the wisdom of having a daughter walk by her self to deliver anything. Again this may not have been uncommon during the writing of the story, but it is uncommon now because our current culture frowns on this a little more.

One can also question the meaning of the fact that the wolf chooses to take over the role of Grandmother rather then attacking the girl directly. In many ways the story itself may be indicating that even those we love can become abusive and dangerous. At least this could be the message for modern children, however as a story to deliver this message it does not do a very good job for it focuses more on looks rather then the child failing to stand up for themselves.

The story then more then being a deep meaningful commentary on humanity, is rather a story that children and adults to seem to relate well too, thus the reason this story has been around for so long. And the fact that a story has been so culturally valuable to so many people in the world with versions ranging from China, to Europe, gives the story value as a way of continuing the thoughts of humans over the course of thousands of years.