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The main theme of the story is to listen to what your parents tell you and not to talk to strangers. Essentially, she is sent on a specific journey, told not to leave the path, and yet because she does she finds herself in a dangerous situation. The key purpose of folklore and fairy tales (much like their earlier incarnartion, myths) was to teach a lesson or to guide people to make the right choices.
Moving beyond the simplistic answer an looking to critical interpretations of various versions of the tale, the essential element of childhood fears is revealed. One critical analysis forms a version of the tale that revolves around the fear of the cannibalistic or overpowering mother and the latent expression of nubile sexuality:
when discussing LRRH it is also necessary to chart its journey from oral tale clearly connected with cannibalism, abjection and sexuality, to Perrault's French version whose Royal audience necessitated serious alteration of content, to the Grimm version which extends the Perrault alterations and significantly changes the moral point of the tale by changing the ending (twice).
This particular essay examines a number of themes present in the work at great length and may prove valuable to you.
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