Essay on The Big Bad Wold Is Heartless

2719 Words Feb 4th, 2014 11 Pages
Dear Reader,
Below you will find my intellectual journey as I have undergone a critical reflection on various forms of interpretations of children’s literature. This paper is essentially an academic endeavor, but it does differ from an academic essay in that the conclusion is reached in the same way an insight is formed: by starting out with an idea, thesis, antithesis and finally sublation. The resolution is an epiphany of sorts that, like a quest, comes only at the end, after having undergone various trials. I would like to think that this piece of writing exhibits the point I wish to instill: the necessity of imaginative freedom in myth.
Let Absurdity Reign
Erich Fromm interprets the story of Little Red Riding Hood as the
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Maria Tatar frames the consequences of this plethora of interpretations beautifully: “Allegorical readings tend to undermine and discredit each other by their very multiplicity”(CFT 8). With so many directions and such variety of interpretations the reader is left stranded in the woods. He is left only to question at which point he will pull the proverbial plug and judge an interpretation as just too absurd.
At first this prompts the rather intuitive idea that the solution to the beast of close reading should lie in rules established by a comprehensive, complete and sound set of logical axioms. A mechanism of this sort could easily delineate valid (a reader’s right to an interpretation) and sound (plausible/ ‘correct’) interpretations from invalid and unsound ones and thereby ensures some uniformity. A briefly described positive account might recommend limiting interpretations to concepts contained only within the texts themselves. For example, consider Anne Sexton’s concept of the wolf’s “womb envy”. She employs in her interpretation a concept that is external to the text itself. What I mean is that, contained within in the act of the wolf swallowing Little Red and her grandmother, one only has the concepts of an unsafe place, hunger, satiation and stomach (as some of the main ones). Sexton adds the concepts of conception and envy, which are

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