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Yes I agree that the power in Grimm’s, Carter’s and Duffy’s versions of Little Red Riding Hood is gendered. The concept of power is the foundation of the story and revolves around the characters and the position of power that every character holds is different in each version of Little Red Riding Hood. Even as ‘Little Red Riding Hood/ Little Red Cap’ celebrates the empowerment of a young woman in search of sexual and artistic agency, it also examines the power dynamics at play when a girl’s coming-of-age takes place at the hands of an older man. Through the subversion of a well-known fairy tale, the texts demands that the reader reconsider the roles of predator and prey within the broader societal systems of gender and power.
First of all they give an overview of the development of the tale. Moreover, they provide clear contrasts and issues to work with gender stereotypes. Gender roles can be cemented and maintained, something which is important to bring to light and question. A gender perspective has been important to emphasize especially questions that concern feminism, war, youth, the characterization of Red and the Wolf, point of view and gender stereotypes of masculinity and femininity in the different versions.
Little Red Riding Hood is a tale that has been told over many centuries to both children and adults alike. Many generations of women and men have either heard the tale itself and/or know of it. Several versions of this well-known narrative have similar characters, such as the wolf and the Little Red, but vary in the plot – versions such as ‘The Story of the Grandmother’. At its surface, Little Red Riding Hood is simply about a girl whose mission is to visit her grandmother, but she gets intercepted by the wolf. However, Little Red Riding Hood actually introduces the foundation for the concept of feminism. It reveals gender-based notions such as the grandmother-mother-daughter bond and brain versus beauty. The Little Red Riding Hood tales establish the idea of the grandmother-mother-daughter bond by beginning most of the conversation between the mother and daughter about the grandmother.
There were only a few major differences between these texts, but I was still interested in their similarities and what the gender roles might teach children who choose to listen or read these stories. After reading all the versions I realized that for the most part, females were portrayed in a negative way. There is a lot of gender stereotyping in these books, which I believe could have a negative effect on children. I do not think that children’s literature should go along with gender stereotypes, it should deny the stereotypes and show diversity among the characters. The children should not be limited by gender roles and how both boys and girls should be able to read literature that is not filled with gender stereotypes. Children should always feel free to choose what they want to read, what they want to do, or what they want in their lives.
One of the instances of gender stereotyping is that the mother’s character reinforces traditional female gender roles. I believe the character of the mother goes along with the traditional stereotypes that all women are domestic and stay at home to take care of the house and children while their father works. The mother is always shown in the kitchen cooking or baking. I was surprised that not one single one of these books denied this stereotype. In my opinion, this is a big negative part of all the books. I believe it is very important for children to see gender roles being reversed, instead of the same traditional roles. Not every female stays at home and takes care of the house and children all day, but that is what these types of literature are displaying to children.
Now here in this short story we know that even though the child is a good child like the child who was good as in Grimm’s tale but here the child is also not as vulnerable as she was in Grimm’s tale. The child is empowered because she is seen as capable of defending herself. And when she heard the freezing howl of the wolf she dropped her gifts, seized the knife and turned on the beast. She is not vulnerable, weak and fragile, she is fully capable of turning on to the beast and is as conversant with the language of violence like the beast is.
As we already have an impression of Little Red Riding Hood ‘we should not assume appearances are indication of complete truth’.
While comparing the texts we come across various similarities and differences, some of them are as follows: The description of the Protagonist as a little girl who everyone loved in Grimm’s, the prettiest and youngest of her family in Carter’s and sweet sixteen who has never been a babe in the Duffy’s. Embarking on a journey by her mother telling her to go and give her specific directions on how to behave in Grimm’s, the girl insists that she wants to go in the Carter’s and the wolf leading the girl into the woods in the Duffy’s version. The basket contains a piece of cake and a bottle of wine in the Grimm’s; cheeses,a bottle of harsh liquor, flat oat cakes, a pot or two of jam and a knife she puts into the basket herself in the Carter’s version and nothing that specific in the Duffy’s. Another instance is the way the wolf finds the house of her Grandmother like the girl telling him the Grimm’s version, the wolf knowing it already in the Carter’s. Next is that the wolf eats the Grandmother in the versions of Carter and Grimm’s and the girl finds her grandmother’s bones by chopping the wolf’s throat in the Duffy’s. The wolf doesn’t eat the girl as she and the grandmother are saved by a woodsman in the Grimm’s while she is figuratively married to the wolf in the Carter’s and the girl in Duffy’s manages to escape the forest with flowers while singing.
The Grimm’s version is basically a story about the never-ending fight between good and evil, a story about greed and hope, a story about responsibility and second chances. It is an old fairy tale, known in many different variations and each one of them can be interpreted in different ways just like this one.
In the version of the Carter, Little Red Riding Hood is represented as a witty new woman who embraces her own sexuality and regards herself as a subject rather than an object . Through the transposition between reader and character, this tale produces a new subject position for readers, particularly for young female readers.
Just as Carol Ann Duffy, the woman came to recognise herself as needing both men and women in her life, being openly bisexual, she also developed a poetic voice that took the best of both male and female traditions and welded them together. This is summarized very well in ‘Little Red Cap’.
Сonclusion from the wolf had been a love poem that came with a price, namely a sexual one, but the girl felt the need to slide “from between his heavy matted paws” to find her own, female voice. A common conclusion that most of the versions of the Little Red Riding Hood draws is that the Children, especially attractive, well bred young ladies, should never talk to strangers, for if they should do so, they may well provide dinner for a wolf.
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