Friday, October 14, 2011

Fairy Tale Friday #2: The Color Red

The color red is very much an intense color. It can mean love, hearts, and life. It can also mean blood, violence, and sexuality. In reference to females, red represents the menstrual cycle which represents becoming a woman.

In fairy tales, Snow White's lips are red as blood. The poisoned apple she takes a bite out of is red. (The Evil Queen eats the white side which is not poisoned.)


Red Riding Hood's outfit is red.

Bluebeard's wife's key is stained with bloody red after she uses it to open a forbidden door.

There are red roses in different fairy tales such as "Sleeping Beauty" and "Beauty and the Beast." There are so many fairy tales that have characters shedding blood: Sleeping Beauty pricking her finger, Cinderella's stepsisters chopping parts of their feet off to fit into the glass slipper, the Huntsman carving out the lungs and liver of a boar instead of Snow White, etc.

In these fairy tales, red seems to represent the negative side, the downfall. A lot of times, this downfall is because of the stage of life the female is entering. Red is significantly tied to a girl becoming a woman. Many of these fairy tales are about girls becoming of age to get married, to bear children, to be a mother. White may be considered a virgin or a maiden, but red is a mother or a woman.

In popular culture, red is found in various objects in The Six Sense which represents, according to the DVD (via wikipedia), "anything in the real world that has been tainted by the other world" and "to connote really explosively emotional moments and situations." 

A little girl's coat is red in Schlinder's List. According to Stephen Spielberg (via wikipedia), "It was a large bloodstain, primary red color on everyone's radar, but no one did anything about it."

In Pleasantville, color bleeds into the black and white world, starting with a red rose which ruins this perfect world.

In the book The Giver, Jonas is able to see the color by first seeing a girl's red hair and red apple which causes Jonas to be different from the other people of his society.

So why am I focusing on this color? In my WIP, Beautiful/Wild, (a "Beauty and the Beast" retelling), red is a forbidden color in the society I have created. Anyone caught with the color is punished. So no red exists in this town, but of course, you can't escape the color of blood. Red here is such a negative color, but I plan to change the connotation throughout the book through my main character Arabella.

Red is a strong woman.
Red is a revolution.
Red is life.


Burgandy Ice said...

wow!! That's wild! Thx for sharing this stuff... I'm reading down all your entries, and I thought I should comment. I LOVE IT!! yay!!

sugarpeach said...

This is my favorite Fairy Tale Friday post. I love reading fairy tales and read many when I was young. However, I did not take note on the theme of red being used. Thank you for pointing this out!

Munnaza said...

I never really thought about how significant the color red was before. Of course, I'm aware of all the fairy tale usages of the color, but just seeing them listed like this is really interesting. There's just something allurng, almost magical about the color, but also dangerous and seductive, and mysterious.

I'd also forgotten that red was the first color Jonas was able to see in The Giver (which is terrible - that's one of my favorite dystopian novels of all time), and that's really interesting about the way the color was used in The Sixth Sense.

Thanks for your thoughts!

(The more I hear about your WIP, the more I am dying to read it!)

Kulsuma said...

I always knew red was a significant colour, but it's amazing how prevalent it is! Red connotes so many things; love, lust, fertility, danger, violence, adultery...

FairyWhispers said...

I didn't know red was so influential in disney!

thanks for posting

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