Little Red Riding Hood and the Temptation of Maturity in Fairy Tales

The color of that riding hood should not be taken as mere coincidence, of course, since red is perhaps the most striking color of the spectrum and has long a favorite for use as a symbol of sexuality. The plot device that has Red Riding Hood taking off on her journey to grandmother’s house should be viewed in terms of a metaphoric journey toward maturity. The woods in fairy tales are not only dark and mysterious, but more importantly they are overflowing with temptation. The words are the crucible in which Little Red Riding Hood will face a test of her maturity through the temptation that is the greatest obstacle to the process of maturation.

The Fairy Tales of Charles Perrault

The central conceit that the horror and terror found in other versions (such as Cinderella’s ugly stepsisters cutting off their toes or otherwise mutilating their bodies in order to make the shoe fit) no longer provides an entryway into the conscious workings of the adult mind. Thus stripped those vulgar and offensive elements that are situated within fairy tales as a means for scaring underdeveloped minds into adhering to the dominant moral code, Perrault’s versions become capable of existing on two levels.