Professor W. Clough
2 March 2012
ENG 200 Midterm
In the text Norton Fairy Tales, multiple versions of the “Red Riding Hood” stories depict the evolution of gender roles and stereotypes in society, as well as the existence and advantageous characteristics of real life evil. In all the variations of the “Red Riding Hood” story, there exists an evil character that attempts to take advantage of the granddaughter character. This evil character has the appearance of a foul creature - wolf, ogress, etc. In most cases the creature has somehow gotten rid of Little Red’s grandmother and has disguised itself to hide its true appearance from Little Red. In most cases, Little Red escapes this trap either by outwitting the evil creature or with help from other characters. The only version that does not conclude with Little Red’s escape, is Charles Perrault’s version (Tatars 11-13) where the story concludes with “the wicked wolf [throwing] himself on Little Red Riding Hood and gobbl[ing] her up.” The only story to stray from the “Red Riding Hood” title greatly is Chiang Mi’s version entitled “Goldflower and the Bear” (Tatars 19-21). This is the variety that differs the most from all the versions in Norton Fairy Tales. In this version, the creature is a bear, the setting takes place at the granddaughter’s house, and a new character is included – her brother. In the Roald Dahl’s versions (Tatars 21-24), Little Red is depicted as an independent character, who aids for herself. In Italo Calvino’s version (Tatars 17-19), the beast is represented by an ogress. This small detail removes the stereotypical view of the antagonist having to be a male. These two significant changes were made in response to a change of societal views on gender roles – woman could now provide for themselves and did not necessarily need a bread-winner man in their life. 2.
In Bettelheim’s analysis of the importance of fairy tales, “The Struggle For Meaning” (Tatars 269-273), he...
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