Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Great Granny! It's the Wolf!
I guess we're going to be seeing a lot from Red Red Riding Hood soon with the movie coming out. Personally I love the Grimm's version. . . you know the one with all the gloom, doom gnashing teeth and blood. Hmmm . . . maybe I will enjoy the movie. It does, after all, have one of my all time favorite actors in it: Gary Oldman.
On the surface of the story, we see a young lady walking to Granny's house to care for her. Nice and Nice. Underneath it all, the story is a deep warning to all young women. Beware the wolf! What exactly is the wolf in this story? Fear? Lust? Imminent dangers of the wild? Or the imminent dangers of being wild? If you answered all of the above you would be correct.
There are a couple characters that don't really get explored too much in this story: Granny and the Hunter. They get glossed over like they are auxiliary cutouts to make the story work. After all Red needs a reason to be trouncing about the woods and someone needs to save her from that big bad evil wolf, right? UHm hmmm. . . No, they are important figures that should be pointed to and understood.
So Granny gets it early in the story, but her role is no less diminished. Red has to realize that there is something very wrong when she gets to Granny's house. No granddaughter would mistake her grandmother. Grandma is the one who fed our mind and souls with stories and veiled lessons while stuffing our bellies with cookies. You don't forget any woman who does that. This Granny must have been a shrewd woman indeed to teach her granddaughter to be deceptive in the face of danger long enough to escape.
Granny is important on another level. She symbolizes the wisdom that hopefully we all of will reap from the experiences of our lives and in her passing she joins the ranks of Red's Mighty Dead. An ancient magic happens here. It is the power of the love our Mighty Dead hold for us that has the power to protect and guide us through our lives when things become panicked and murky. Sometimes even intervene on our behalf. You see, in the Old World, it was often the grandmother who watched over the older children while the mother tended to hearth, home and babies who require more attention. It was Grandmother who often told old family stories and taught the older children which mushrooms to pick and which ones should not be consumed ( or in some case which ones were for eating and which ones were for flying.) Thus was the way the craft was taught, usually from grandmother to granddaughter, as well as an example of what it looked like from mom if the grandmother was Mom's Mom.
Ok, Enough of Granny ( Sorry Granny.) Now we move on to the Hunter. The Hunter in the beginning is often times not even spoken about. Most of the time, we are not aware that he is there until he shoots the Wolf and saves Red. However, he has been there the entire story lurking in the back of the crowd casting mooning looks at Red while no one is looking. He feels too young and too shy to step out into the sun. Sometimes he even feels unworthy. So he watches her from a far hoping that she will see him and shies away when she does, but inside he is elated she did. It is no wonder he sees the Wolf before Red does and recognizes its danger to her and to him as well. Unfortunately, it is too late to save Granny who has surrendered her life to become something more powerful than her frail shell will allow in this moment of danger to her granddaughter. It may even be Granny speaking to the Hunter. It is very possible that Granny saw the Hunter's heart long before he recognized what it was saying to him. It is this connection she will use to speak to him. The Hunter is Love. The Love of life and people. He is the Love that beats a path directly to the beloved and has the courage to nock the arrow and send it to flight.
And now we get to it, that feral eyed beast that slinks in the shadows and raises the hairs at your neck: the Wolf. The Wolf is fear, our own fears and those that have been imposed upon us from society. Stay on the path, walk in the light, don't stray too far out of sight, don't drink the Kool- Aide. The Wolf is lust. Lust of men who would devour you and leave you to bleed when you no longer suit their desires. Lust of things you would have to have and spiral you into dark oblivion. The Wolf is the wild and wildness lurking within that can catch you unaware lure and you to danger and death.
While the Wolf is the dark and wild beast in the shadows, he is not evil. He simply is. Red has choices to make and a long path to Granny's to walk by herself ( maybe in the dark.) Red can choose to become a victim or she can choose to become the victor. She can make the Wolf an ally that walks beside her and warns her of real danger or she can become its prey. She can learn what her limits are and abide by them or she can stifle herself in a safe little life dictated by others. She can learn the difference between devouring lust or true enduring love. The lesson portrayed here should not be: Beware the Wolf. It should be: Be Aware of the Wolf. Know his name, call him out and love him or shoot him if you must