Analysis of Little Red Riding Hood
The psychologist Sigmund Freud created many theories on how people are and why they do the things they do. His psychoanalytic theories are used today to for a better understanding of and to analyze literature. Freud’s three key zones of mental process are the id, the ego and the superego. The id is one of the most important of the three when talking about “Little Red Riding Hood
” by Charles Perrault. The author tries to show that being impulsive and basically giving in to your id is not the best way to live one’s life.
In the beginning of “Little Red Riding Hood”, the little girl
is happily skipping through the forest. “…she met a wolf, who wanted to eat her…” (Stories, 1066) and proceeds to have a friendly conversation with him. This is her first mistake. Being young
and uninformed about the ways of the world, she thinks it is perfectly normal to talk to a big, scary wolf. “The poor child did not know how dangerous it is to chatter away to wolves…” (Stories, pg. 1066). Since the little girl is young and impressionable, she jumps on her impulses to talk to any stranger she comes across. She does not think of what could come of her informing the wolf of her every move. She is not concerned with what might happen due to her irrational choice of speaking with a similarly irrational wolf.
The wolf is also guilty of giving in to his amoral desires. When he first sees the little girl, he “…wanted to eat her but did not dare to because there were woodcutters working nearby.” (Stories, pg. 1066) He refrained from giving into his impulses only because he was afraid of being hurt by the people nearby. However, the wolf did not stay hungry for long. Giving into his animalistic desires, he beat the girl to her grandmother’s house and proceeded to eat her. He could not ignore his desires anymore. The wolf thinks with his stomach and not his mind. “The id is, in short, the source of all our aggressions and desires.” (HCAL, pg. 130) The wolf shows the fundamental characteristics of the id. He relies on his aggression and desires to obtain what he wants.
At the end of the story, the irrationality of the main characters comes to an all time high. Little Red Ridding Hood is all a glow with seeing her sick grandmother and trying to cheer her up. She does not realize that her grandmother is really the wolf she met earlier. If she was more observant and not so wrapped up in her little red hooded world, she would have realized that there was something tremendously wrong with the way her grandmother looked. She did not apply common sense to the situation. The wolf, who only has one thing on his mind, tricks her.
The wolf is no better than the little girl in the situation. All he cares about is getting the little girl into bed with him. “Put the cake and the butter down on the bread-bin and come and lie down with me.” (Stories, pg. 1067) The wolf’s only goal is to satisfy his uncontrollable urges. He does not consider whether or not what he is doing is wrong, he just does them. The wolf is an id driven creature whose only goal in life is to please himself by whatever means necessary.
Both Little Red Ridding Hood and the wolf are both guilty of giving into their id. The moral of the story warns the reader that there are wolves in the real world who are just like the wolf in the story. These “wolves” are just preying on young impressionable little girls in order to fulfill their sexual desires. The wolf in the story wanted the little girl in his bed, so do the “wolves” in society. Little girls are not just the victims though. They are also able to act on their desires and be bad little girls. Everyone is capable of giving into temptation and what is not necessarily the right thing to do.