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"The Company of Wolves" Comprehension.

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Tuesday, 03 December 2002 Jad Salfiti A2 English Literature "The Company of Wolves" Comprehension 'The Company of Wolves' is the retelling of the classic tale of Little Red Riding Hood. Carter's divergence from the original story represents their transformation from girl to women and the wildness within all of us; our connection with nature and the innate biological desires we all have. The story criticises men and their perceptions and makes a critique on their ideas in regard to women. A great theme within 'The Company of Wolves' is the progression from girl to woman. The use of winter acts as an atmospheric device "It is winter and cold weather" in addition the narrator provides a strong sense of location "Step between the portals of the great pine" the world we are entering is a surreal hybrid of everyday reality and a fairy-tale; the story has a bizarre theatrical elements in it. The boundaries between dream, imagination and reality are blurred, just as they are in the mind of the pubescent child. We are told children "do not stay young for long in this savage country". Little Red Riding Hood, being the youngest of her family had been "indulged by her mother and grandmother", who that day had knitted her a red shawl. The two oldest generations of her family are introducing the youngest generation into womanhood, the shawl represents a desire to keep her safe as well as hide her feminine body from the world. ...read more.


Throughout the play much emphasis is placed on the colour red and indeed what it represents: blood. The eyes of the wolves are described as "reddish". A Synecdoche is used "red for danger": blood as a symbol of sexual emancipation. Little Red riding Hood's shawl is red and has "the ominous if brilliant look of blood on snow". We are informed she "has just started her woman's bleeding". The wolf is described as having "a faint trace of blood on his chin". When Little Red riding Hood arrives at the house her scarlet shawl is as red as the "blood she is about to spill", the reader is led to believe she is about to kill the 'beast'. The colour red is important on many levels; it represents sexual passion and desire, danger and destruction and purity and vitality. "She saw how his jaw began to slaver and the room was full of the clamour of the forest's Liebestod," 'Liebestod' is the German concept of the unity of love and death, throughout the story love (passion) is put adjacent to death (danger), this is none better demonstrated by when Little Red's sexual encounter with the wolf, she will lay his fearful head on her lap, a phallic symbol, and she will pick out the lice from his pelt and perhaps she will put "the lice into her own mouth and eat them, as he will bid her,", this represents women's worship of men in society. ...read more.


The stringency of male pride and honour is mocked "But when the wolf lay bleeding and gaspiting its last, the pelt peeled off again and he was just as he had been, years ago, when he ran away from his marriage bed, so that she wept and her second husband beat her" the brutality and animalistic nature of men is draw attention to, the line between the man and the beast is further blurred: both equally wild and sadistic. Women are represented as victims of passive male aggression. 'The Company of Wolves' uses many narrative techniques to allow the reader to assess the portrayal of woman within everyday society, Cater questions gender roles and subverts stereotypes of femininity, this is demonstrated when the girl bursts out laughing, when the wolf tells her that his big teeth or all the better for eating her with, "she knew she was nobody's meat". Little Red Riding Hood represents nascent female sexuality. The red hood appears as a symbol of menstruation and Little Red Riding Hood's path through the forest is seen as an allegoric path of virtue into womanhood. Stress is placed on her burgeoning sexuality, she is described as wanting to dawdle on her way to make sure the handsome gentleman would win his wager, this subverts the traditional image of Little Red Riding Hood.". Carter has created an amazing swim of metaphors where lycanthropy is made to stand in for everything from budding sexual desire juxtaposed with a dwindling fear of men, "since her fear did her no good, she ceased to be afraid". ...read more.

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