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Comparison Between Charles Perrault's Version Of "Little Red Riding Hood" And The Brothers Grimm's "Little Red Cap."

1130 words - 5 pages

The timeless old tale of a little girl who meets a wolf on her way to Grandma's house has been passed down through oral tradition from one generation to the next. The tale of "Little Red Riding Hood" has existed for centuries as a warning for young, disobedient girls. According to what was considered socially acceptable and prudent behavior and according to the author's social and political standing, the tale has undergone significant changes.The story of "Little Red Riding-Hood" is a descendent of an early tale by French folklorist Frank Delarue. This early version of the tale, called "The Story of Grandmother," features a werewolf and a little girl who must use her wits to escape. In this ...view middle of the document...

..and scapegoat" (Bodkin 154). Perrault is responsible for adding the well-known image of the girl's red hood. The hood is characteristic of the fashion of Perrault's times, but the color red is indicative of the sexual theme of his version. Perrault chose to portray Little Red Riding-Hood as a direct opposite of the wolf: innocent and naïve. He hinted at sexuality through dialogue and gesture, intentionally portraying the wolf as a sexual, devious creature and Little Red Riding-Hood as an innocent curious girl:"Put the custard and the little pot of butter upon the stool and come and lie down with me. Little Red Riding-Hood undressed herself and went into bed, when being greatly amazed to see how her grandmother looked in her nightclothes, she said to her: Grandmamma, what great arms you have got...what great legs you have got...what great ears you have got...what great eyes you have got...what great teeth you have got!" (Perrault 315).What is interesting about Perrault's tale is that Little Red Riding-Hood seems to be curious about the creature lying in her Grandmamma's bed as she gazes from his arms, down to his legs, then back to his mouth, suggestive of the sexual aspect of this tale. The moral aspect of Perrault's version is clearly spelled out at the end of the tale, that there are men out there that are willing to take advantage of naïve and attractive young girls. Children, especially attractive, well-bred young ladies, should never talk to strangers, for if they do, they may become a wolf's dinner.The heroine from "The Story of Grandmother" is a little girl who is spoiled, naïve, and tainted with sin. As a result, she is raped and swallowed (like her grandmother). Perrault's version removed this aspect, as well as the appalling description of the little girl eating her grandmother's flesh and drinking her blood, eliminating the vulgarity from the original peasant tale and providing behavioral models for children to reinforce the prestige and superiority of aristocratic values.The tale changed again in the hands of...

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