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The Little Red Riding Hood is a naivety fairy tale putting a young girl against the cunning nature of a bad Wolf. Although, in many aspects, the storyline remained the same, the tale was rewritten by different authors and portrayed different themes. As such, in the paper, I will compare the version of Valenzuela If This is Life, I’m the Little Red Riding Hood and Red Riding Hood by Annex Sexton. Valenzuela’s version of the story is a representation and criticism targeted at negating the hypocrisy and repressiveness targeted towards women. It tries to show how women have evolved with time and have become as competent as men. Sexton’s version presents a satirical world where women are their own enemies. They do not want to help those that seem to have a different opinion on the matters of feminism. The comparison between these two stories, both based on the same theme of feminism, will be presented to show how each of them tries to bring out the theme in its own style.
Valenzuela’s story If This Is Life, I Am the Red Riding Hood is a fairy tale showing and portraying the stages women go through during their journey to womanhood. It is a polite way of portraying extremes in a sexual tone under some feminist views. The story reveals the intricate sexual politics, philosophical underpinnings and moral ambiguities underpinning the girl’s epic journey to her grandmother’s house and how seduction is highlighted to be the trait of men and the power of men over women. In these societies, girls are brought up in the naive ways ensuring that they always remain below their male counterparts. This makes women more submissive to men always meeting the demands in a sexual or any other need. Valenzuela comes out as a master of fairy tales re-writing the way she is attacking the traditional foundations of different societies.
On the contrary, in The Little Red Riding Hood”, a girl is spoilt and naive at the same time. She indicates her sinful nature by wearing a red cap and acts very closely to the Wolf. The reflection of the girl being devoured by the wolf is a symbolic representation of the total idea that if girls continually hover around some strange males, they are normally being under a higher risk of the sexual assault or even harm. This, as the author puts it, “is their own fault” (Orenstein 92). The version portrays her as even a she wolf since it serves as a barometer of social and sexual mores that the woman is in.
The Little Red Riding Hood in Valenzuela’s version portrays the girl that enjoys going to bed with the wolf. This can be seen from the scene when the princess had been woken by the kisses from the prince. The story develops a submissive woman who is lured by man’s intentions. She was overexcited and sexually aroused. In the original version of the story written by Perrault, the girl is portrayed as very cunning but appears as a little seductress who is a hapless victim of the wolf. She escaped the motives of the wolf after the wolf had taken her to bed considering that her grandmother was devoured. In other versions, the wolf devours the girl, but most of the time she proves the fact that she can take care of her. This version shows the nature of women as early as the book had been written by Venezuela. The supposition of the girl reflects the naivety and cordial welcome of young people, especially girls. She waves to the Wolf even after he has made some obscene gestures towards her
In Valenzuela’s story, the narrator portrays the girl as the decision maker, she knows what she wants and is not ready to change or settle for anything else. The girl is very naive and stubborn, and, therefore, she does not want to be controlled or advised, since she believes that everything will be working for her soon. This contradicts with what her mother thinks concerning this. She believes that life is full of bitterness and happiness at the same time, with each replacing the other one depending on the seasons (the Social Design). The aspect of the girl’s grandmother opening the door for the Wolf is intriguing because grandmother is supposed to be more experienced and clever than other women to know the intentions of men.
This version of the story shows how women, through love, succumb to situations that are dangerous to them. From generation to generation, men have subjected women to abuse, but The Red Riding Hood will change this. According to Valenzuela, life is sometimes perceived to be too tough. Despite this, people have to continue living. Parents will always try to rectify the mistakes done by their children irrespectively of the fact how many times the children repeat the same mistakes.
The Valenzuela’s version has succeeded in presenting a grown up red riding hood as opposed to Sexton’s version. As the girl is walking in her red riding hood, she hears only the voice of her grandmother as if it had been a part of her own voice. The voice only speaks to her in solemn tones, “Watch out for the wolf, says that maternal voice. As if she did not know that” (Bracket). The sentence “as if she did not know” shows how the little red riding hood has grown to be a knowledgeable and careful, as opposed to Sexton’s version. This indicates the level that women have reached. They seem to know everything and advance men making something towards them but they may still fall as the victims of their actions.
Women are portrayed as rush in decision making. They don’t stop to think of the repercussions of their actions. Through this, Sexton portrays the red riding hood as naive and gullible to the Wolf as well as the events happening around her. She portrayed a mythology, which is explicit and that focuses on the satirical repressiveness of the modern society. She presents an example in which not every situation deserves an action used all the time. The women are living in fear in the current world because they are left with few choices, while men are making them miserable. These actions drain the women’s morality and make them do the undesired things. For example, we understand that, “Her life savings are under the mattress covered with rust stains and counting. They are as wrinkled as prunes but negotiable. The two women take the money and disappear. Where is the moral? Not all knives are for stabbing the exposed belly” (Sexton 67). On the contrary, Valenzuela has succeeded in evoking the need to reconsider the traditional beliefs that have often caused women to make some biased decisions.
In both stories, the Wolf is a fabrication of fear before the unknown. It is a symbol of men undermining women’s responsibility and advancement. Despite of not completely disregarding this assertion, Valenzuela has managed to allude to the fact that the Wolf in the story is a symbol of all men, while Sexton represents the wolf to be both men and other obstacles undermining the potential of women. It acts as a wake up call to all women to stand up against oppression and the idea that men should be the ones to decide for them what they want. This is an old-fashioned tradition or the retrogressive culture. When women are mistaken, they are very sensitive and should not be blamed for the drastic measures they have taken.
In Sexton’s version, the wolf was cut open to release the girl and the grandmother; we find that they stuffed the wolf with stones and it died in the process of this. This is a representation of reality when people often become aggressive towards those who have mistaken or gone against their wishes (Orenstein 100). In this regard, a woman who has been abused by a man usually gets too excited or frightened, and, as such, loses the control when she sees a man being close to her. Thus, she can do some nasty things to any other man as a way of self-defense and revenge.
Finally, it is vividly established that no matter how naive a person is, the prior experience of tribulation makes him/her wary of the same event happening. Valenzuela shows that women are smarter than they are thought to be and can fend for themselves. While Sexton successfully shows how women inherit the retrogressive tradition, which last and plunge them into the life of misery and agony trying to abide whatever men say. The moral lesson behind the two stories is the way how women can overcome the oppression in some time.