Fairy Tales Paper: A Retelling Of Little Red Riding Hood

1052 words - 4 pages

As we look back on the history of fairy tales, we find that they are stories passed down to generations through the oral tradition that generally include a moral or pervading theme that is meant to aid the listener. One characteristic of oral stories are the variations that often occurred with each retelling as a result of errors in translation and interpretations, as well as changes driven by the storyteller’s desire to share a particular point of view with the listener. A modern twist on these variations is evident in children’s literature today. “The Sisters Grimm”, a popular series written by best-selling author Michael Buckley, offers a whole new dimension of changes to classic fairy tales as he reinvents the stories by adding depth, meaning, and humanity to many of the popular characters. Over the course of this paper, I will examine those changes and how they compare to the original Brothers Grimm version.
Little Red Riding Hood is a familiar story in which a little girl is sent by her grandmother to take food to her ailing grandmother who lives in the forest. Before heading off on her journey, she is given clear instructions from her mother: “(…) when you’re out in the woods, walk properly and don’t stray from the path.” (Norton 14) One important distinction between the Brothers Grimm and Buckley versions is this depiction of the lead character: Little Red Riding Hood (LRRH). Different versions of this classic tale portray her as a cunning and mature little girl capable of turning the tables on the wolf (Norton 11) or as a woefully ignorant and immature little girl whose victimization is her just reward (Norton 5). These accounts give us dull, one dimensional character that merely exists as a means to an end for the storyteller. Although these stories were meant to be entertaining, the morals from these stories were the driving factors for them being shared at all. “The Sisters Grimm” series removes these qualities and adds humanity to the characters. The author goes to great lengths to explain the motivation behind the actions that we have casually read over the generations.
In the case of Buckley’s LRRH, we find her somewhere in between these two extremes. Of particular importance is the dichotomy in the personhood of LRRH. LRRH is represented first as a criminal; a fractured person whose erratic behavior is worthy of a mental institution. Finally, we see her character as an innocent child full of remorse for the crimes that she committed during this deranged state. Over the course of the story we find out that LRRH had been sent to her grandmother’s house by her parents for help because she was a witch. Mentally unstable since childhood, she was sent to her as their last hope. Unfortunately for LRRH, her grandmother’s magic got the best of her and she was killed before she could help her. Poor LRRH was stuck in this poor mental state until the Sisters Grimm used the grandmother’s magical kazoo to restore her. The author gives LRRH...

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