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Recontextualization Of Little Red Riding Hood Extention English, Year 11 Essay

1510 words - 7 pages

Throughout history, the story of “Little Red Riding Hood” has been constantly recontextualized, reflecting the changing power of patriarchal values amongst society while challenging the culture heritage and relevance of this power. This is evident through the versions written by Perrault, Carter and Duffy, who demonstrate the changing morals within societies throughout history. Perrault used his version to maintain and fix the values of the story and values of women remaining chaste, innocent in the patriarchal society of the 17th century. Carter and Duffy, however, subvert these ideas by blurring binary opposites and creating power within “Little Red Riding Hood” (LRRH).
In Perrault’s version of “Little Red Riding Hood”, he reminds reader of the values and morals that should be kept within the 17th century patriarchal society. These values consisted of women remaining pure and innocence while subduing any sexual desires. In Perrault’s 17th century context, the French Court was known for its promiscuity and sexual drive. This clashed with Perrault’s ideas of women behaving virtuously and innocently hence leading to his rewrite of the oral tale of LRRH. In the beginning of the story, Perrault instantly objectifies her, as she is ‘the prettiest anyone ever saw’. This characterizes her as a small and innocent girl helping Perrault demonstrate how she can be easily manipulated. Perrault also uses an imperative tone referring LRRH as “poor child” creating empathy while taking away the power of her. This is then contrasted through the depiction of the wolf as he is introduced as “old neighbor wolf” creating a stronger, more dominant figure overpowering LRRH. The wolf is also symbolic of men illustrating a warning for women as the wolf is seen as cunning and deceiving. This contrast reveals the clear binary opposites of man and women as well as beast and human. The beast and man are shown to be more dominating and powerful while the women and humans are weaker reflecting on the 17th century patriarchal society. This dominance is shown at the end when LRRH is eaten depicting that if women were to step outside the conformity of society of being pure they would be punished through forms such as rape. Perrault then reiterates the value of chastity and innocence through his moral ending. By beginning with “Little girls”, it illustrates again the superiority of men against women taking away the power of them. Within this didactic tone, he states, “as you’re pretty so be wise wolves may lurk in every guise” demonstrating the wishes of them to protect their purity from charming, illusive men. All in all, Perrault uses his version as a way for women to remain powerless and oppressed in the patriarchal society while warning them to pacify their sexual desires as it would lead to danger.
In Carters, The Company of Wolves, she uses the narrator (Little Red Riding Hood) as a symbol for change among the 20th century society defying the values of Perrault’s 17th...

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