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The Evolution Of The Common Fairy Tale

2306 words - 10 pages

How influential can a little fictional girl be? In the world of fairy tales, there isn’t a girl who has lived a more tragic life than little red riding hood. She may not be a princess, but her story has provided the first step towards modern culture. Born without a name, she holds more symbolism than other princesses among her genre, which results in a sympathetic connection with her audience. Told for centuries, Little Red’s story was first published in 1697 France by Charles Perrault. In summary, “Little Red Riding Hood” is the story of a little girl draped in a red hood delivering food for her sick grandmother. Along the way, the girl meets a wolf. Oblivious to the wolf’s evil intentions, she tells him exactly where she’s going and how to get there. The Wolf arrives at the grandmother’s house and tricks the grandmother into believing her granddaughter is at the door. The wolf swiftly opens the door and eats the grandmother. Little Red Riding Hood arrives much later to be told by the wolf to place the items down and come into bed with him. After the girl proclaimed what big features the wolf had, she was eaten (Perrault). Perrault’s purpose for writing this tale was to warn young women in seventeenth century France about the dangers of new people you meet. Favorably, fairy tales have evolved to accommodate a common society by altering basic morals and traditions. Over hundreds of years, society has helped change gender roles, merge cultures, and strengthen social structure in fairy tales.
Charles Perrault lived in France during the reign of King Louis XIV. Despite being known as “The Sun King”, Louis XIV had a sumptuous lifestyle that threatened the welfare of his people. To accommodate for his luxurious spending, he raised taxes to outrageous levels which made living nearly impossible. His citizens began to starve to death, and while high amounts of poverty were occurring the king was busy building an expansion to Versailles. Perrault was heavily influenced by Louis XIV and the lingering social problems that affected France. There was a major social structure instability between the social elite of France that may have been a motivation for men to take advantage of women. There was a saying during this time period where a woman who has lost her virginity has “seen the wolf.” Perrault, being and educated intellectual, explains this saying in a small explanation at the end of his Little Red Riding Hood Tale where he reveals that “these gentle wolves” are the “most dangerous ones of all” (Perrault). Thankfully, women’s rights have since improved for the better. Women have improved access into the political world and are able to receive an equal education to males. Many jobs that women used to do to provide for their families are now done by machinery. Many spoken versions of fairy tales have proof of women’s work within their writing, and readers are able to see an obvious change in how these tales have changed over time. (Orenstein) One example...

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