Episode 9 – Revisiting Little Red Riding Hood

In this episode, Group 7 talks Little Red Riding Hood retellings.

Episode 1: Group 7
By: Whit, Whitney and Michael
Little Red Riding Hood by Charles Perrault and was first published in the late 17th century. 

Information about author: French poet and writer Charles Perrault was born on January 12, 1628, in Paris, France. played a prominent role in a literary controversy known as the dispute between the Ancients and Moderns. Perrault is perhaps best known for his Mother Goose fairy stories, including Little Red Riding Hood and Puss in Boots, which he wrote for his children. Perrault was very well-known in writing these fairytales that we’ve all come to know and love.

Overview of the story
Her mother tells Little Red Riding Hood that she must take food to her grandmother because she’s sick. Although the young girl plans to obey her mother by taking cake and butter to her sick grandmother, she’s tricked by a wolf into telling him where her grandmother lives. When she finally goes to the house the wolf has already eaten the grandmother and is pretending to be little red riding hood’s grandmother and tricks her to come to bed where she ultimately is eaten.

The next portion of our episode will be attributed to unwrapping this fairytale and comparing it to typical elements that fairytales primarily consist of. These elements are defined as archetypes which is a very typical example of a certain person or thing. When looking for examples it is important to analyze what a typical fairytale normally consists of. As defined in our week two notes from class by professor Courtney Floyd a couple things that were mentioned is the short narrative, familiar stories (usually passed down by generations), usually arise from the common people, the scope of a fairytale is made by the language. Also important factors are character types and a story that follows a typical narrative: a problem arises, a journey for the protagonist to solve the problem, and a happily ever after (normally).

Something that followed the very typical format was the “once upon a time” introduction. This lets the reader know that what they are about to read is going to be fiction and it is going to be probably light hearted and lets the reader know it is a fairytale. Right away the story is set up with the mother, grandmother, young girl, and a talking animal which is the wolf. The setup of the story is set in place right out the gate and we are given the quest that this little girl will have to take on. Something that stood out was that the mother does not tell red riding hood to be careful and to follow any sort of path. This seemed to be very intentional for Perrault for the overall meaning he wants to get across. To really emphasize that young children should never talk to strangers no matter how charming or nice these strangers may be. This part of the little to no mention of the mother is very interesting to me I guess primarily because it seems like an important factor from the story of Little Red Riding Hood that we all remember. The fact that her mother says to stay on a certain path and not to talk to strangers, almost forcing us as readers to understand what the moral of the story will be right from the beginning. After her mother tells her to go straight to her grandmother’s and she defies it is when she starts getting herself into trouble. Whether or not this aspect is included the message is still able to be prevalent we found it interesting and different that other versions of this story in which the archetype is challenges by Perrault.

Another archetype that emphasizes the meaning we mentioned before, was that Perrault might be challenging in a sense is the idea that there was not a happy ending to the story. The wolf unfortunately did eat not only the grandmother, but the protagonist of this fairytale. This part is really interesting because when we read fairytales as kids and now, no matter what age really, we root for this main character to overcome the problem that was set up. Normally there is a final couple sentences where the fairytale ties up all the loose ends and makes sure that the protagonist defies everything and comes up on top, whereas anyone who is an antagonist type character “gets what they deserve” or at least what we think they deserve. 

Last point when comparing this story to archetypes of fairytale is the back and forth suspenseful conversation that occurs right before the wolf eats red riding hood. Everyone who knows the general plot of this story can recognize this part of the story. This rhyming scheme is not normally in most fairytale, almost like a rhyme going on between the wolf and red riding hood. It all seems fun and games until the reader realizes he is actually going to eat her. This part is what makes Little Red Riding Hood so popular and memorable from when we all were kids. This is an interesting take on a set up for the climax of the story. This creates no room in this specific version for a falling action. It goes straight into the resolution that she was eaten and that is that. 

Modern Retellings

For the modern retelling of the fairytale to analyze and compare I chose Riding Hood, Revisited: The Wolf’s Perspective by By F. Forrester Church.

The reason I chose this story because this gives the original story depth and show that very story can be seen from multiple perspectives and challenge the idea of the antagonist being wicked or evil. Before the story the author, Forrester Church explains, the meaning of a story and even details change according to the teller`s perspective. Because life is filled with stories, this is a useful thing to remember. Another person`s version of the truth may seem false, but in fact just be true in a different way. I think this version almost begins to take on a different meaning than just the fact to not talk to strangers, but now takes on this one as well.

The story begins with ‘once upon a time’ and explains how there was good wolf who was very helpful and noticed a girl dressed in red in the woods. Although he was frightened at first, because he explains that humans have a history of cruelty to wolves, but he overcame his fear and talked to the little girl. She explained she was going to see her ill grandmother and bring her treats. After she left he realize she was naïve and that he should walk her home because the woods can be scary and as explained are life and death. So, the wolf raced to the little girl’s grandmother’s house and knocked on the door unknowing if she was already there. He walked in and found the grandmother dead from being so ill. He heard the little girl approaching the house and acted quickly by eating the grandmother and putting on her clothes in order to protect the little girl from the shock of seeing her grandmother dead. When the little girl entered and noticed the differences in her grandmother she realized it was the wolf and ran screaming. The wolf ran after her to explain, but before he had the chance, a hunter leapt from the underbrush and shot him dead. Forrester Church ends the tale with including 
“Even though the good wolf was killed, in a way, he died for all wolves, for through the example of his life, generations of wolves have been inspired to perform self-regarding deeds of kindness.
There is a second moral as well: Wolves tend to remember events in ways flattering to themselves.
But surely we can forgive them for this. After all, it’s only human.”

For the modern retelling of the fairytale to analyze and compare I chose the song Through Wolf’s Eyes by Elvenking.
The reason I chose this song was because, like my group-mates, I found the wolf’s perspective very intriguing. What I also found interesting is the song perspective, by that I mean, like fairytales there is so much to read between the lines, and make your own opinions about and that can make analyzing it easier, but also challenging because I could never be sure if my interpretations were on the right track or not.
The song was about the Wolf’s love for Little Red and how he attempted to show that love by killing the grandma. In the end Little Red was, unsurprisingly, not impressed, and the Wolf died from a broken heart. In my analyzation I appreciated the love at first sight concept which is just like fairy tales, but unlike fairytales there was not a happy ending. Actually, nobody received a happy ending, because the Wolf dies, the Grandma dies, which means Little Red lost her Grandma. I can see Wolf’s side though, he might have killed the Grandma as an offering to Little Red; he knew Little Red was going to be there later so he could have seen that as a good time to offer her his version of food. This food idea is also interesting because in the Grimm version, Wolf also offers Little Red her Grandma’s flesh and blood, which she eats.
In the end the main ideal I gathered from this retelling is that love does not conquer all, love can be one sided, and one sided love is nothing but heartbreaking.

The modern retelling that I chose was the portrayal of little red riding hood and the big bad wolf and their appearance in the movie Shrek the Third. I chose this because I thought it was really unique because its not a normal retelling. Instead of “retelling” the story we get to see characteristics of the characters that we don’t see in the original story. Several times in Shrek the third we see red riding hood acting mean and selfish. She is even seen stealing out of someone’s pocket at one point. The wolf is portrayed as more of a scared character who isn’t very tough or brave. Now that we have seen another side to the characters that we didn’t originally see it can make our minds do a retelling on their own.
Guiding Questions

Do I like the work?
Whitney: In the story little red riding hood I think the work stands apart from the anarchy’s of other normal fairytales, which is intriguing. I like this type of work.
Whit: I cannot say it is my favorite fairytale, I have always enjoyed the classic “and they lived happily ever after” but I also understand that those are from Disney’s retellings and not usually the original versions.

What words stand out?
Whitney: Words thats stand out in this specific story is the “fond” and “doted” when comparing the love little red’s grandmother and mother had for her. I think this gives the sense of how much she meant to them, yet her mother neglected to warn her of the danger of strangers and the woods.
Whit: When Red’s mother says to bring her grandmother “cake” and “butter” I thought this was interesting because she was bring the grandmother food to make her feel better, and this really says a lot of the time about how they knew so little of health needs. The last thing a sick person needs is milk to make one more congested, and sugar which is never actually good for you at all. Cake also speaks of the wealth Red’s family had since the ingredients are more frivolous and not in the average pantry at the time.

What feelings does it give me?
Whitney: This story gives the sense of innocence and almost tense towards the end. We as the readers know what might happen, but this little girl has no idea what she is getting herself in to.
Whit: The story gives me reminiscent feelings of my childhood and how things were so black and white. Things were so clear and obvious in the story, even if it was not so clear to little red.

Do I identify with any of the people represented?
Whitney: I think everyone, including myself, can identify with little red riding hood because the sense of being ignorant and naive to the unknown happens to most everyone.
Whit: I like to think I identify with the mom, she really is not in the story, which means she does not make obviously bad decisions. I have just always been too self aware to mistake an animal for a person, let alone someone related to me who I have known my entire life.
Michael: Definitely red riding hood because we can all remember being ignorant and young.

Is there anything about how it’s written that stands out?
Whitney: I think an interesting part of the story that is almost written like a rhyme. Example:
“Grandmother, what big arms you have!”
“All the better to hug you with, my dear.”
“Grandmother, what big legs you have!”
This part of little red riding hood is placed in every version and helps us identify what story this is apart from other fairy tales.
Whit: Exactly what Whitney said, those are the most standout lines in every Little Red Riding Hood. That is the part everyone remembers.
Michael: Those lines are what stands out most to me. It is the moment that really shows little reds youth. She is being deceived by the wolf because she’s a child.

What is the work about?
Whitney: In the story little red riding hood’s mother tells her that she must take food to her grandmother because she’s sick. Although the young girl plans to obey her mother by taking cake and butter to her sick grandmother, she’s tricked by a wolf into telling him where her grandmother lives. When she finally goes to the house the wolf has already eaten the grandmother and is pretending to be little red riding hood’s grandmother and tricks her to come to bed where she ultimately is eaten.
Whit: The story is about a little girl who takes food to her sick grandmother. Her grandmother gets tricked by wolf who says he is her granddaughter, and then the wolf tricks Little Red by saying he is her grandmother. In the end Little Red gets eaten.
Michael:The story is about a mother who sends her daughter to bring her grandma food. Along the way she meets a wolf who deceives her and eats her grandma before impersonating her.
What else is the work about?
Whitney: I think this story has the meaning of the danger of talking to strangers.
Whit: The moral is to not talk to strangers, and as Perrault would put it, specifically young pretty girls should not talk to strangers.
Michael: The ignorance of the youth and dont talk to strangers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *