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An introduction to the different versions of little red riding hood

Like many other stories passed down through oral traditions, there are several versions. Perrault only provided one of them, with his own emendations and embellishments. Since the Middle Ages, the story has embedded itself in storytelling traditions and become an integral aspect of human consciousness in terms of its cautionary message, the main difference being in whether the girl or young woman depends on others or becomes more self-reliant, a characteristic in later feminist versions.

There seems to be a re-envisaging of the tale in popular culture as political and societal constructs have been reworked to challenge patriarchal pressures and promote female independence and liberty. Its timeless power to fascinate with its sense of mystery, as a young woman awakens to her own budding sexuality and the desires she arouses in philanderers typified by the wolf, as well as protectors like the woodcutter.

Red Riding Hood is not necessarily an innocent, but one who flirts with transgression as she decides which path to take through the forest. The possibilities open to her provide the various authors of different versions didactic purposes that attempt to explain human behaviour, including the eternal struggle between the sexes and the conflicting needs of men and women. The analysis will encompass the early French version, an Italian variation, reworking of the tale during the 19th century in England, and feminist interpretations in the works of Carol Ann Duffy and Angela Carter.

Thus my Research question How has the symbolic significance of the characters in Little Red Riding Hood been shaped by context and values across time? There has been a re-envisaging of the tale in popular culture as its ideological constructs while retaining its timeless power to fascinate with its sense of mystery and transgressive possibilities has been blended with a didactic purpose that attempts to shape human behaviour.

Little Red Riding Hood Little Red Riding Hood, as a character, begins each version of her story as an embodiment of the innocence and purity of young girls. This persona was produced in print for the first time by Charles Perrault in 1697 for the purpose of admonishing against straying away from the safety created by patriarchal society. The red colour of her hood invites the audience to associate Little Red Riding Hood with indiscretion through emerging passion and sexual vibrancy, implying her movement away from the safety offered by the patriarchal society, under the tutelage of her grandmother.

A young woman in the 17th century who permits herself to be deflowered is as damning as death for her socially, and can also have ramifications for her family that loses its social position when their child tarnishes her reputation.

Characterisation of Little Red Riding Hood. Little Red Riding Hood is depicted as a naive, innocent girl- inherently gullible and as a result, subject to the power held by the wolf.

It highlights the patriarchal dominance within society at the time, and it is the subversion of this child-like naivety that leads to feminist interpretations of this tale. In some versions her innocence combined with intuitive curiosity brings tragedy. Elsewhere, her innocence is a harbinger of awakening to the world around her and even of self-reliance. Significance of colour in characterising Little Red Riding Hood. Colours are used throughout the different texts in order to aid in the characterisation of Little Red Riding Hood, adding to the underlying tones that lie beneath the seemingly-simple tale.

The colour red is the most pronounced throughout all the texts, contrasting with the white and green of nature. It is still maintained in the latter versions, notably in the Grimm Brothers, despite the general desexualisation of the story as it turned into stories for children, and could be considered as a symbol for reaching puberty, representing the menstrual cycle.

Changes in the representation of Red Riding Hood over time

Yet for the Grimm Brothers, Red Riding Hood and her Grandmother are not only saved by the woodcutter but gain experience and are able to preserve themselves from a second wolf [2]. Thus the pubescent girl preserves her innocence, and seems saved in the sense that she can preserve her virginal innocence indefinitely.

Here it is evident that there is Lang associating the girl with purity and innocence, and his use of the golden hood removes the sexual undertones created by the red hood in the original story. This is consistent with the progression of the fairy tale, as they become more adjusted towards a younger audience. It hints at her potential to subvert the power of the dominant patriarchal society which is represented by the wolf, emulating the feminist purpose that Angela Carter was recreating.

Instead they are used to describe objects which are symbolic of aspects of her character. But though Red Cap treasured her virginity, it is as trivial to the wolf as the dove he devours dismissively: Ironically in Little Red Cap, the colours are used to depict Little Red Riding Hood in a submissive manner which is completely an introduction to the different versions of little red riding hood in her killing of the wolf.

It reflects the feminist ideology that Carol Ann Duffy is trying to create, highlighting the power of women, despite being in what used to be a patriarchal-dominated society. Though Red Cap takes revenge on the Wolf, she has also learned much from him, including passion and death. The Wolf The Original Tale: The wolf in Little Red Riding hood is used as a physical manifestation of the dangers of the unknown. Perrault makes the danger explicit in the moral of his story [5] to express the purpose of the cautionary tale, and placing it into context for the society within his time, when fallen women could be destroyed by premarital sexual intimacy.

The Wolf is invariably an agent of moral corruption, but he can also be a teacher who develops Red Riding Hood towards independent womanhood. He coyly toys with her as he describes a remarkable object in his pocket. He talks with her and they start walking together, Rosaleen uncertain whether he regards her as a child or a woman and uncertain of her own feelings towards the werewolf. She gives him her basket to carry, even though her knife is in it, as the huntsman has a rifle.

She has surrendered her defences to his phallic strength. He shows her a compass, impressing her as he would an ignorant child. If he does, the child has to kiss him, the kiss being just the first of many expected intimacies.

Though she is a bit anxious, she certainly enjoys this play and the attention from such a gentleman far more graceful than the silly village boys. He gives her his plumed hat as a token of good will as they begin their race.

She pauses not to pick flowers and play with butterflies as in the Perrault version of the fairy tale but to examine her reflection once again in the hand mirror. The famous interchange between the wolf and Little Red Riding Hood: The use of dramatic irony, as well as the anaphora from both the wolf and Little Red Riding Hood heightens the tension within the text before culminating in the eating of the girl in many of the earlier texts. But neither the Grandmother nor Little Red are cannibalized or raped but are saved by a huntsman.

Similarly, the later version by The Brothers Grimm directed at children removes the sexual threat by implementing the valiant huntsman to save the girl with the red cap. What big eyes he had! Riding Hood is an informed protagonist able to take control. However it is ironic in that in seeing the Wolf, she is also unable to see beyond the physical aspects of the wolf, and the possible harm that may come to her. Here Duffy is making explicit, that it is not her gender that forces her into a submissive position, but instead her inexperience and youth that have caused this to happen.

The power of the wolf has been subverted and reflects the change in values within the society as equality between genders is established.

The girl is saved, but not by the huntsman; when the wolf tries to eat her, its mouth is burned by the golden hood she wears, which is enchanted. The child takes off her clothes piece by piece. The wolf is described in much more details, as is the death of the Grandmother, the superstitious mentor who draws a link between wolves, werewolves and the Devil, using the term bzou, laden with menace, to provide a terse but powerful climax to his version.

Women sewed and spun yarn and yarns to earning a living. This time was not merely about learning a trade but gathering of pins as love tokens.

By the time the girls reached fifteen, they were of an age both for courting and for work. The Wolf invites Red Riding Hood to choose between love and work. Rosaleen counters these fears with tales about outsiders that need love to end their marginalization. To see how it leapt.

Her death also obliges Red Cap to find her own way out of the woods and to make her own way into the world. Even so, though she is deflowered, Red Cap rejoices, singing Out of the forest I come with my flowers, singing, all alone. There may be a hint she hoped the Wolf would devour her oppressive grand-parent, though she does not anticipate her own death.

She is denied salvation because she is neither filial nor industrious. Instead, Perrault ironically moralises in verse form warning little girls to beware of strangers lest they are punished for waywardness. But in each version, the Grandmother is rendered helpless by ignorance, superstition, infirmity and the need to trust others, like her grand-daughter. She exemplifies for Perrault the responsibilities of dutiful children. But for later writers she typifies the stultifying gap between generations, where the elderly impose values on youth that it resists or resents or seeks to overthrow to find its own way.

The Huntsman Charles Perrault had no need to provide a Huntsman because he is writing a punitive tale wherein there is no protagonist worthy of rescue and no protagonist to redeem the miscreant Riding Hood, physically or spiritually. The story is a cautionary tale to naughty children and even more so to teenage girls who stray from the path of moral righteousness, making themselves unworthy of champions.

Such girls, by surrendering themselves to rakish wolves have no claim on worthy suitors. Charles Perrault set down his version of Red Riding Hood and other contes de fees, or fairy tales as they were called, and gained recognition in the literary salons where aristocratic parents were concerned about the good reputation of their families.

Red Riding Hood serves as a stern reminder to young ladies at court that they faced ruin if they granted their favours to paramours like the predatory Salon-Wolves. An introduction to the different versions of little red riding hood Brothers Grimm directed their tale at prepubescent children by removing the sexual threat, though the temptation to lewd pleasures remains beneath the surface.

Because she has not been adulterated the hunter may save her. But as the Red Riding Hood character becomes older, and less likely to be innocent, she has to save herself and wreak her own vengeance.

The lumberjack may have more of the spirit of revolutionary France which valued equality along with fraternity and liberty. In Germany, the hunter could more readily be identified with the courts of princes, hunting being an aristocratic pastime. Hence, Red Riding Hood could be saved by a prince and aspire to a fairy tale happy ending. But in either version, Little Red Riding Hood and her grandmother emerge unharmed.

The wolf awakens and tries to flee, but the stones cause him to collapse and die. Logically the hunter would have already killed the wolf, but the Grimm Brothers empower the victims by letting them wreak their vengeance with the aid of the princely hunter.

Sexual intercourse occurs next to her dead body. Her act of lustful disrespect may have begun as a ruse as she waits for rescue by huntsman who is also the wolf. But in the course of intercourse she surrenders to the joys of the animal magnetism of the Wolf, and the ululations of his brethren. The wolf is a beast because of his hunger, but the child has her own wildness too. The child realizes that her fear is not helpful, so she discards it. She stands there naked for a moment and then goes to the wolf.

Riding Hood is a greater menace than the Wolf. Similarly, Perrault had exploited folklore for a more sophisticated world that was emerging from the Middle Ages. The Grimm Brothers wrote for a more rapidly changing world hoping to keep magic alive during the Industrial Revolution.

Duffy and Carter further modify the story of Red Riding Hood, using motifs of the bloody chamber, nakedness, the blood of menstruation and lost virginity, and transformation return. The story of Red Riding Hood demonstrates how a story can be renewed by appropriation, how similarities can survive over the centuries to be applied in various cultural contexts. The Great Fairy Tale Tradition: The Blue Fairy Book.