“Little Red” Cartoon

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This cartoon pokes fun at our society’s obsession with analyzing and explaining. In the original story the wolf dressed in the grandmother’s clothing to trick Little Red into getting close so that he could eat her. In modern times, however, people are rarely content with simple explanations and have a strong desire to uncover hidden meanings or themes.

 

The therapist is implying that the wolf has a specific desire to wear women’s clothing, possibly hinting at some kind of deeper psychological issue. Many fairy tales are subjected to this sort of analysis, picking at nearly insignificant details to try to draw conclusions about hidden messages or meanings.

 

While there is some merit to in-depth analysis, it is debatable whether or not many literary analysts take it too far. It is certainly possible that authors spend time concocting elaborate metaphors and symbolism, but it seems much more likely to me that the majority of analysis is wishful thinking or imagined by the analysts.

 

The cartoon is an amusing poke at our fixation on hidden meaning, but I think it also points out a problem we have with focusing on insignificant details to the exclusion of more important topics. As interesting as it may be to apply psychoanalytic methods to fairy tales, I think we should sometimes take a step back and wonder if we are looking at them in the right way. Perhaps a less abstract historical analysis might uncover more useful information than what is often discussed in fairy tale analysis.

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