Authors use different words in their works not by chance. The choice of words is usually presupposed by the meaning people want to cover.
Writing stories, authors usually try to hide the main idea of their words to using metaphors, similes, oppositions, personifications, symbols, etc. and making people guess their real meaning. Considering the line from Little Red Cap by Brothers Grimm, we are going to analyzing the words choice, their implicit and explicit meaning, and phrasing. “Little Red Cap promised to obey her mother. The grandmother lived out in the woods, a half hour from the village. When Little Red Cap entered the woods a wolf came up to her. She did not know what a wicked animal he was, and was not afraid of him” (Grimm 309) is an abstract under discussion.
The grandmother of Little Red Cap lives in “woods” which seems like unsafe place. However, the authors do not choose the word “forest” instead of “wood,” as they want to explain why mother lets their daughter to the unknown place. Woods are used for wood cut, so there might be people.
Forest is more dangerous place and the authors do not want to show mother as careless person. Mother lives her child and hope she is going to be safe near woodcutters. Furthermore, the word “village” is opposed to “woods” in the meaning of safe and unsafe, native place and strange one. The “village” is a place which the little girl used to live in safe, the “woods” is a new world to the little girl, full of with danger. The usage of the word “to obey” should be considered, as children have to listen and to follow their parents’ saying. But, the very phrase “Little Red Cap promised to obey her mother” (Grimm 309) sounds strange and natural question arises, isn’t it an everyday manner of girl’s behaviour? The authors use the words ‘to obey’ to emphasize the fault of the little girl’s mother and her way of girls’ upbringing. It seems that the authors want to underline that something is going to happen because a girl “promised to obey” (Grimm 309), but a girl is not aware of the real danger which exists in the woods. Mother says that a girl may fall down and break a bottle of wine, and nothing will be left for grandmother.
The word “wolf” metaphorically describes the stranger who will be harmful to the children. Nothing about wicked people was said, so the girl “did not know what a wicked animal [wolf] was, and was not afraid of him” (Grimm 309). Wolf is a symbol of strange people who may harm. The authors use this character to show that trying to be polite and gentle, strange people may be very dangerous and may cause harm. It is exactly what happens with the girls.
It seems that Brothers Grimm want to caution parents that they should pay more attention to warning their children about possible danger. The authors want to export a dangerous person in the real world as wicked wolf. Not only visibly violence people but also hidden wicked people are able to be harmful to children. The fairy-tale under consideration does not only entertainments but also teachers lessons to the readers. Little Red Cap shows parents the importance of making young children get information of moral conduct subconsciously since early childhood. The authors hide the implied meanings and cover them up the word choices. If readers try to analyze the word or parsing, they get much information about the hidden meaning of the story and the lessons they teach.
Close reading is required for understanding the lessons offered for people.
Grimm, Jocob and Wilhelm.“Little Red Cap.” Making Argument about Literature: A Compact Guide and Anthology. Ed. John Schilb and John Clifford. New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2004.
308 – 311. Print.