Instructor: Emily A. Miller
01 November, 2012
Compare the Grimm’s Little Red Riding Hood and The Company of wolves There are many different versions of Little Red riding hood, some have new characters, some have different ending, but many versions have one thing in common that is the Little Red Cap is no longer weak and some even started to revenge in some versions. Here I will compare Carter’s version to Grimm’s classic version as an example. I will discuss the character, the moral values, and the religious color to demonstrate how Little Red Cap grows stronger and dig it to a deeper level. The first obvious difference between the two versions is the character Little Red Cap itself. Most of time, the character created by the author is a denotation by which a theme is voiced. The Grimm's Little Red Cap is so innocent and fragile that she is a victim by appeasing the wolf's hunger. She is weak and needs to be saved by a strong person, just like it happened at the end when she was rescued by the hunter. On the contrary, Carter didn’t create the Little Red Cap to show off her masterful characterization ability, also to symbolize women's power and independence. For example, in Grimm's Brother's version, the Little Red Cap is innocent, and was sketched as a sweet girl that everyone who sees will love. The author didn't use a lot of words on her appearance and personality compare to Carter's version. In contrast, Carter portrayed her characters as in reality. She created a pretty and youthful little red cap. Many vivid words she used were suggestive of sex rather than direct descriptions. She wrote: "Her breasts have just begun to swell.....and she has just started woman’s bleeding, the clock inside her that will strike, henceforward, once a month." It's easy for readers to draw an image of a luscious girl in mind. Moreover, she is strong and brave that she is afraid of nothing. She is clever. She brings a knife in the basket as she knows how to protect herself. She is confidence and open- minded that soon she talks to the hunter (the disguised wolf) like old friends. She is pre-mature. The wager made with the hunter is the best proof, because she roams on the way deliberately to make sure that the wolf can win her kiss as if she desires to grow intensely. And when death is approaching she is sensible to fight off fare making right decisions to save her life. Hence, our Little Red Cap finally grows up, and closer to the reader. Another big difference is the moral values which arise from both stories. In Grimm's version, the underlying theme is the evil will defeated by justice. In contrast, there is no clear boundary of good and evil in Carter's story since the Little Red Cap turns the beast to be a tender creature in the end. For instance, the wolf in Grimm’s version is a personification of evil, and their version has a positive ending which the little red cap is rescued by a hunter and the wolf receives the punishment he deserves. After he gets his belly cut off and filled with stones, he still cannot escape from death by way of sliding off the roof and drowning. Unlike Grimm’s brother’s version, Carter has different perspectives toward justice and evil. The werewolf is a devil which identical to Grimm’s, whereas the little red cap is no longer the delicate girl who needs to be saved by the strong, instead, the unarmed woman saved herself. The little red cap in Carter’s version is not only a stronger woman but also denotes justice and rights. In the end, the wolf was turned from a “carnivore incarnate” to a tender animal, which conveys that the evil can be assimilated by the good eventually. On the other hand, in terms of gender roles, the end also tell the readers that women and men are equal, and can live together harmoniously and happily. In brief, Carter's Little Red Cap( the good) is stronger as she is not only saved her life but also changed the beast(the bad). In addition, the religious dimension is another thing I want to mention. Religious color was not much revealed in Grimm’s version, whereas it was largely implied in carter’s version. For example, in Carter's version, the grandma tries to plunge the Bible to the werewolf to protect herself, yet it fails, which means violence is not always a good way to solve problems against the evil. However, in the end, little red cap sacrificed her virginity to save herself as well as reformed and softened the werewolf. This reminds me the death of Jesus, because he underwent the pain and sacrificed his life, but he still loves his people and gives them salvation. The Carter's Little Red Cap uses a self- sacrificing as well as non-violence way to wash the wolf’s sin and gives him a new life. The moment accompanies the Christmas clock sound which means a brand new start. What a strong power she has!
In conclusion, both the weak and the stronger Little Red Cap have been accepted and loving by a very wide audience. Many reasons could lead to the changes of Little Red Cap, the different times and background which authors come from, and more important, the different purposes of composition. For instance, Grimm’s brothers threw themselves into collecting folktales and then published their efforts for both children and adults. Their stories are more like fireside favorites for mass middle class. Their Little Red Riding Hood is like teaching children from right and wrong, such as listen to elder’s words, do not trust strangers easily. Therefore, the Little Red cap is weak in order to better serve the tone and theme. However, one hundred year later, Carter rewrote the story and added some modern thought; she adapted fairy tales throughout the feminist thought. Therefore, unlike Grimm’s Little Red Cap, she gave her independent thought and personality. That’s why the Little Red cap is reborn and stronger.