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if patriarchy sees women as occupying a marginal position within the symbolic order, then it can construe them as the limit or borderline of that order...Women seen as the limit of the symbolic order will in other words share in the disconcerting properties of all frontiers: they will be neither inside nor outside, neither known nor unknown. It is this position that has sometimes enabled male culture to sometimes vilify women as representing darkness and chaos....and sometimes to elevate them as the representatives of a higher and purer nature...In the first instance the borderline is seen as part of the chaotic wilderness outside, and in the second it is seen as an inherent part of the inside: the part that protects and shields the symbolic order from imaginary chaos

From Sexual/textual politics by Toril Moi, Quoted in Deconstructing the Hero By Margery Hourihan (both excellent books by the way)

This is why grandma lives on the outskirts of the village, or the edge of the forest


and the difference between grandma and the gingerbread witch is not very much really they both get punished, destroyed, consumed for living independently, for knowing things, even though one acquiesces to the patriarchy and one resists it
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Something I noticed in rereading LRRH stories is in the first tellings we have nobody tells her to beware of the wolf or to stay on the path. The oldest version of LRRH we have is generally called The Grandmothers Tale and begins:

A woman had finished her baking, so she asked her daughter to take a fresh galette and a pot of cream to her grandmother who lived in a forest cottage. The girl set off, and on her way she met a bzou [a werewolf].
The bzou stopped the girl and asked, "Where are you going? What do you carry?"
"I'm going my grandmother's house," said the girl, "and I'm bringing her bread and cream."
"Which path will you take?" the bzou asked. "The Path of Needles or the Path of Pins?"
"I'll take the Path of Pins," said the girl.
"Why then, I'll take the Path of Needles, and we'll see who gets there first."


The Perrault version starts

One day her mother, having made some cakes, said to her, "Go, my dear, and see how your grandmother is doing, for I hear she has been very ill. Take her a cake, and this little pot of butter."

Little Red Riding Hood set out immediately to go to her grandmother, who lived in another village.

As she was going through the wood, she met with a wolf, who had a very great mind to eat her up, but he dared not, because of some woodcutters working nearby in the forest. He asked her where she was going. The poor child, who did not know that it was dangerous to stay and talk to a wolf, said to him, "I am going to see my grandmother and carry her a cake and a little pot of butter from my mother."

"Does she live far off?" said the wolf

"Oh I say," answered Little Red Riding Hood; "it is beyond that mill you see there, at the first house in the village."


or depending on the translation

Once upon a time there was a little village girl, the prettiest that had ever been seen. Her mother doted on her and her grandmother even more. The good woman made her a little red hood which suited her so well that she was called Little Red Riding hood wherever she went
One Day, after her mother had baked some biscuits, she said to Little Red Riding Hood: “go see how your grandmother is feeling for I have heard that she is sick. Take her some biscuits and his small pot of butter.” Little red riding hood departed at once to visit her grandmother who lived in another village. In passing through the wood she met an old neighbour wolf. Who had a great desire to eat her. But he did not dare because of some woodcutters who were in the forest. He asked her where she was going. The poor child who did not know that it is dangerous to stop and listen to wolves said to him: “I am going to see my Grandmother”


This is translated by Jack Zipes and can be found in The Trials and Tribulations of Little Red Riding Hood This is the Perrault version I will mostly be using because I like the translation a lot, If i am using a different one I will specify. There are some translations that use the phrase "father Wolf" rather than "neighbour wolf, which is interesting considering this project as a whole.

It seems that right up to the Grimm's retelling that no one tells her not to stray from the path or be wary of the wolf and even in the Grimm version red is instructed

"Come Little Red Cap. Here is a piece of cake and a bottle of wine. Take them to your grandmother. She is sick and weak, and they will do her well. Mind your manners and give her my greetings. Behave yourself on the way, and do not leave the path, or you might fall down and break the glass, and then there will be nothing for your sick grandmother."


and there is no concern here that red may get lost or hurt, the concern is for the grandmother.

In the original stories, the oral tales it would have been obvious that you don't go wandering in the forest because there were wolves there (although wolves historically have never been known for making a habit of eating people) and from the perspective of what I'm doing here why did no one tell her? Did they think she already knew? Did they think that even if she didn't know she should have? Did they not care? Did they want to teach her a lesson? Did they rather she got eaten by the wolf than they did?
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The wolf, now piously old and good,
When again he met Red Riding Hood
Spoke: ‘Incredibly, my dear child,
What kinds of stories are spread–they’re wild.

As though there were, so the lie is told,
A dark murder affair of old.
The Brothers Grimm are the ones to blame.
Confess! It wasn’t half as bad as they claim.’

Little Red Riding Hood saw the wolf’s bite
And stammered: ‘You’re right, quite right.’
Whereupon the wolf, heaving many a sigh,
Gave kind regards to Granny and waved good-bye.

Rudolf Otto Wiemer.
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nobody gets eaten and the wolf escapes!

Also interesting how the woodcutter becomes her father.
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Fairytales depict a world of arbitrary violence and frightening animism. What's so unrealistic about that – especially from a child's perspective? They suggest the world is full of monstrous adults: parents who abandon or imprison their children; envious, cold step-parents; stupid giants; hungry witches and ogres; lecherous fathers...


...Little Red Riding Hood, in the earliest version, doesn't disobey, she errs, in the most literal sense, wandering away from the path. But in Perrault's tale she isn't warned not to, and so is not punished for heedlessness. She is simply too innocent to know better, and gobbled up by the wolf, without the last-minute rescue by a huntsman to soften the blow for the children listening...Little Red Riding Hood cautions innocence from the perspective of experience, warning of external dangers. There be wolves. Duly noted.


From Justice and punishment in fairytales. By Sarah Churchwell
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I grow old, old

without you, Mother, landscape

of my heart.   No child, no daughter between my bones

has moved, and passed

out screaming, dressed in her mantle of blood

 

 

as I did

once through your pelvic scaffold, stretching it

like a wishbone, your tenderest skin

strung on its bow and tightened

against the pain.   I slipped out like an arrow, but not before

 

 

the midwife

plunged to her wrist and guided

my baffled head to its first mark.   High forceps

might, in that one instant, have accomplished

what you and that good woman failed

in all these years to do:      cramp

me between the temples, hobble

my baby feet.      Dressed in my red hood, howling, I went –

 

 

evading

the white clad doctor and his fancy claims:       microscope,

stethoscope, scalpel, all

the better to see with, to hear,

and to eat – straight from your hollowed basket

into the midwife’s skirts.     I grew up

 

 

good at evading, and when you said,

“Stick to the road and forget the flowers, there’s

wolves in those bushes, mind

where you got to go, mind

you get there”. I

minded. I kept

 

 

to the road, kept

the hood secret, kept what it sheathed more

secret still.   I opened

it only at night, and with other women

who might be walking the same road to their own

grandma’s house, each with their basket of gifts, her small hood

safe in the same part.    I minded well.   I have no daughter

 

 

to trace that road, back to your lap with my laden

basket of love.  I’m growing

old, old

without you.    Mother, landscape

of my heart, architect of my body, what other gesture

can I conceive

 

 

to make with it

that would reach you, alone

in your house

and waiting, across this improbable forest

peopled with wolves and our lost, flower-gathering

sisters they feed on

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