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The Transformation of Little Red Riding Hood
Transcript of The Transformation of Little Red Riding Hood
Little Red Riding Hood
Early versions of this fairy tale were told around a fire and town for peasants to hear a fun and entertaining story.
It showed a young heroine who didn't need to rely on anyone else to save her from the wolf or to find her way home.
His is the first written version of the tale and it was published in 1697.
Few parents read this story to their children because it ends with the 'Wicked Wolf' gobbling Grandmother and Little Red Riding Hood (Tatar, pg 140).
"Perrault's audience still identified the Wolf with the bloody werewolf, the devil, insatiable lust, and chaotic nature, if not with a witch" (Zipes, 54).
Little Red Riding Hood is an interesting fairy tale and individual character to study. Unlike many fairy tales, she doesn't have a Disney adaptation to look at for comparison. She is often overlooked, but she remains an important piece of literature that has traveled and changed over the centuries.
I wanted to learn more about the different versions that exist and the controversies that surround the tale.
Other Interesting Versions
Little Red Riding Hood
The Story of Grandmother
The girl eats the leftover flesh and blood of her grandmother.
The Wolf asks her to strip and throw her clothes into the fire and get in bed with him.
She asks the Wolf/Grandmother the famous what big eyes, nose, teeth, etc and then tells him that she needs 'to go'. He tells her to go in the bed but she tricks him into letting her go outside. He ties a rope around her foot that she proceeds to tie around a tree and escapes.
The Wolf is outwitted by Little Red, who is more resourcefull trickster than naive young girl (Tatar, pg 141).
Le Petit Chaperon Rouge
Charles Perrault was the one who introduced the Red Cloak, a moral to the tale, and changed the ending.
Grandmother and Little Red are both eaten by the Wolf and no one comes to save them.
He brought a lesson of bewaring deceitful men (wolves) and that they are not always as recognizable as some may think.
In the Grimm's 1812 version, the young girl and Grandmother are rescued by a huntsman after cutting open the stomach of the Wolf with scissors. They then put heavy stones into his stomach and he dies (Tatar, pg 140).
"He leaped out of bed and gobbled up poor Little Red Riding Hood."
Many critics have viewed this as a symbolic death and rebirth.
Another interpretation is that of a double rape.
"As the Grimm's began to assemble more and more versions of the same tale type, they could not resist the temptation of combining elements from different versions. As a result, the composite text they published was not really traditional at all, even though it was made up of traditional elements" (Dundes, pg 7).
The Grimm's also added a continuation of the tale where a second wolf tries to seduce Little Red Riding Hood but she is on her guard and is not so easily persuaded.
Grandmother and Little Red trick the Wolf by enticing him with the smell of cooking sausages and he falls into a trough of water and drowns.
The Little Girl and the Wolf
and Toby Forward's
The Wolf's Story:What Really Happened to Little Red Riding Hood
are amusing versions of the well-known tale.
In Thurber's version, the young girl takes an automatic gun out of her basket and shoots the wolf and kills him.
"It is not so easy to fool little girls nowadays as it used to be," Thurber concludes in the moral following his tale.
Toby Forward's 2005 version of the tale tells the reader how it was all a big misunderstanding and that Grandmother fell, hit her head and died.
Not wanting to be framed for her death, the Wolf puts on her clothes, jumps into bed and pretends to be her in order to trick Little Red into thinking that everything is fine.
At the end, the wolf's tale gets cut off but he gets to walk away.
Also, in ABC's show
Once Upon a Time
, Little Red Riding Hood herself is the wolf.
Perrault's version has a moral after the tale that basically says that people, especially little girls, should beware of "wolves", both literally and metaphorically. All 'wolves' are not mean and nasty but some are sneaky and charming and those are the ones to be extra careful around (Perrault, 31).
"When you're out in the woods, look straight ahead like a good little girl."
The Grimm's added this warning, along with other behavioral lessons, because they were aware that their stories would be used with children. So, they inserted morals, lessons, and messages so that the children learned while enjoying a story.
They had the moral of listening to your parents and not to be distracted or too curious.
Her age is never specified or consistent, the details of the story and the moral of the story has changed.
Her actions depend on the version being told.
She is naive for telling the Wolf her plans and where exactly Grandmother's house was. Also, for not figuring out that her Grandmother was being impersonated.
She is curious because she stray's from the path even though she was told not to.
And at the end, at least in the Grimm version, she escapes with a lesson learned.
The antagonist of this story is unusual because he is a real wolf that can speak and has other human aspects.
The Wolf, with his predatory nature, is frequently seen as a metaphor for sexually seductive men who seduce young women (Tatar, 141).
He may also be seen as the unknown dangers that surround us and what would happen/get us if we stray from the proper, established path.
Little Red Riding Hood
is a rather violent fairy tale and it is constantly being adjusted to be more 'appropriate'.
In the oral version, Little Red eats the flesh and drinks the blood of her grandmother. Also, she is asked to undress and get into bed with him.
The fact that in the oral version, the girl rescues herself but in the written versions, she needs the huntsman or another male figure to come and save them is a little concerning.
-It has the view of women as unable and men as more powerful both as a good way (savior) and a bad way (seducer).
The Grimm version in controversial because Little Red is carrying a bottle of wine in her basket.
Red from Once Upon a Time
The tale has changed in many ways since its origin as an oral tale. It has lengthened, grown more detailed and has morals attached to the end so the reader has no doubt about the meaning of what they just read. The controversies that surround the tale depend on what version you are looking at. I think that the story of Little Red should be discussed more since it has such an interesting background.