"Preyed Upon or Preying"?: Psychosexual Representations of Little Red Riding Hood
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This dissertation seeks to contend the interpretation of Little Red Riding Hood as an all-encompassing "parable of rape" (Zipes, 1993, p.232). Via the use of psychological approaches, it will offer an alternative reading of the tale by taking into account the suggested psychosexual complexities of the heroines in each selected adaptation. Chapter One will strongly engage with the theoretical background in terms of the work of Freud and Jung, and look at the patriarchal tales which arguably form the 'founding narrative' most commonly recognised by audiences today. Essentially it will open the narrative to a Freudian interpretation of the forest as the subconscious, the idea of the Ego temporarily overcome by the ID, and also the psychosexual approaches applicable to the heroine’s age and how they can be seen to play out in the narrative. Chapter Two will then build on these theories in regards to feminist adaptations of the tale. Concentrating on Angela Carter’s The Company of Wolves short story and film, it will demonstrate how the adaptation takes the heroine out of the role of the passive submissive girl and elevates her into the Sadeian woman via her own active transgression of gender barriers set up by patriarchal adaptations. Chapter Three will then use ideas and theories coined in the first two chapters to analyse the recent videogame - The Path. This Chapter will elucidate how the game combines older patriarchal versions of the tale with modern-day women to show that even though her situation in contemporary society has not changed, her moral and psychological strength is vastly more intense than patriarchal adaptations give her credit for. So by examining a variety of texts, including some that arguably do feature scenes of rape, the dissertation will argue that the crime is not the primary focus of the narrative, for the tale’s roots run deep in the forest of psychosexual complexities that far outweigh the claims that the tale is simply "a parable of rape."
Dissertation by Linzi Thomas for the BA English & Creative Writing course, submitted May 2012.
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