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  • Red Riding Buffy

    O.k wasn't really sure where to put this so mods do your stuff if you think it goes elsewhere.

    I've been thinking recently about the many references to Red Riding Hood that seem to keep cropping up in Buffy and what the relevance of this allusion could be.

    Firstly we have the use of the term Big Bad to denote the seasons recurring enemy which is obviously a reference to the big bad wolf. Then you have the symbolism of buffy wearing a red hooded jacket in helpless, with krajic's crazy ramblings backing up this theme (I think at one point he asks buffy if she is taking sweets to grandmothers house.) And of course in fear itself who does buffy decide to go to the halloween party as, yup, red riding hood.

    So what do we think, a symbol of a young girls walk through the dark woods of life, battling the big bad wolf and winning through in the end?

    Buffy taking on the animal forces of the demon world and her own darker nature and coming out on top, suppressing the beast?

    And who would be the wood chopper?

    Or am i just reading too much into this?
    Last edited by tangent; 15-05-07, 04:00 PM.
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  • #2
    Very interesting stuff here…and you can never read too much into Buffy

    I wonder if Joss read Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes at some point before watching Buffy – it’s a similar twist on the myth. In Fear Itself, Buffy has a basket – not of buns for grandma or whatever, but full of weapons. In Dahl’s Red Riding Hood poem (forget the name) RRH “whips a pistol from her knickers”.

    In the tradition Red Riding Hood story, when it DOES have a happy ending and RRH doesn’t die, it’s Daddy who comes to the rescue with his big ol’ axe – but this Little Red Riding Hood can take care of herself most of the time…even when she’s “helpless”, she can outsmart the wolf (using holy water and medication – combo of the modern and the ancient/symbolic).

    So what do we think, a symbol of a young girls walk through the dark woods of life, battling the big bad wolf and winning through in the end? Buffy taking on the animal forces of the demon world and her own darker nature and coming out on top, suppressing the beast?
    Great insight – Buffy is Red Riding Hood 2.0, the modern version who brings her own axe. (cf below) And she’s partly the monster herself, as you say…she’s got demon in her (the wolf is inside her all the time, as it were), her power comes from darkness but she takes control of it so it doesn’t’ have to go TO darkness.

    And who would be the wood chopper?
    Buffy! Well, she does have a handy scythe. Slices, dices, makes Big Bad Wolf juliennes…


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    • #3
      "once more the maidens eyelid flickers, she whips a pistol from her knickers"

      My god that was one of my favourite books for absolutely ages!

      So buffy is RRH, the wood chopper and the wolf? Maybe it's possible to read all the characters in RRH as parts of the whole, part of the human psyche.
      If so what would be buffy grandmama? Perhaps the yearning for that normal life of domesticity?

      Maybe I am reaching a bit far now but reading up on the original story and bearing in mind giles' comments about nursery rhymes being based in fact perhaps it s something to think about.
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      • #4
        "once more the maidens eyelid flickers, she whips a pistol from her knickers"

        My god that was one of my favourite books for absolutely ages!
        Hell yeah! Dahl should get an oscar and beat JK Rowling over the HEAD with it.

        So buffy is RRH, the wood chopper and the wolf? Maybe it's possible to read all the characters in RRH as parts of the whole, part of the human psyche.
        It’s a way of reading fairytales that I think has legs…maybe all stories? Like Buffy says in Earshot, when she’s stealing ideas from the teacher…Iago can be seen as Othello’s shadow-self.

        Not that I’m suggesting you reduce all stories to a set of conflicts within an individual, but it’s deffo one angle worth exploring. It’s been argued that Spike is Buffy’s shadow-self, her dark side - and her shadow in the sense of following her around all the time!

        Maybe I am reaching a bit far now but reading up on the original story and bearing in mind giles' comments about nursery rhymes being based in fact perhaps it s something to think about.
        But of course. Do you think the RRH story is the most prominent fairytale in Buffy? Hmm…I reckon Beauty and the Beast probably is, given that Buffy and Angel AND Buffy and Spike carry overtones of it. In any case, the RRH story that surfaces at various points is one of many fairytales drawn on in the show – Hansel and Gretel, Beauty and the Beast, even Cinderella, in a less obvious way: at the end of season 3, Buffy and Cordy are both Cinderella - they SHALL go to the prom - with Xander as Cordy’s fairy godmother and Angel as both prince charming and fairy godmother.

        Interlocking fairytales jostle within the modern tale of Buffy, with its pop culture references and structures – sometimes I think we probably don’t even notice them because they’re so closely woven to the other strands.

        In the RRH strand of imagery, you get to see Buffy’s vulnerability and her power at once. She subverts that fairytale (with weapons) just as she subverts horror conventions (by being the blonde in the alley who fights back and kicks ass).


        If so what would be buffy grandmama? Perhaps the yearning for that normal life of domesticity?
        In Helpless, I’d say Joyce is grandma – she’s the domestic figure who’s threatened by the wolf - though perhaps Buffy is also, since it’s grandma’s clothes that the wolf dresses in, and it’s buffy’s coat that Kralik (sp?) dresses up in.

        But in a more general symbolic sense, taking the fairytale as a paradigm of Buffy’s inner life, then “grandma” buffy could be the “normal” life she craves, absolutely. The life that’s disrupted when she becomes the slayer, and she makes various attempts to get back to. But normal isn’t really an option and there’s always an element of Buffy-as-wolf playing at Buffy-as-grandma (or even Buffy-as-red-riding hood, if you take rrh as the innocent little girl). She loves it when she gets to feel “like a girl” (I think she says that to Angel some time…but maybe that’s on Ats, in I Will remember you?)


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